Blog Post

The Future Virtualization of the Workforce - Telecommuting


Welcome to the 21st century!  20th

century habits die hard! What am I

talking about today? I’m talking about the virtuous virtue of virtual vocations,

more commonly known as Telecommuting or Remote Work. With today’s technology,

companies should be adapting more

widely to this strategy, and actively creating a virtual workforce.  The reason why I’m blogging about this today,

is every time I post a new project or job opening, I immediately get bombarded

by very skilled and talented database professionals with interest. The very

first question I get, “Can I telecommute”? 

Or, “Is it Remote”? 

I totally

feel for these folks, as I’d love to be able to quickly place them back in the

workforce.  Got projects + got skills =

win/win situation! However, old-school 20th century thinking has

companies lagging behind the times.  My

obligatory reply “Sorry, this client requires the resource to be on-site 100% -

but I’ll keep you in mind just as soon as a REMOTE project comes across my desk”  (And I will reach out to you when that

happens, but they are still a smaller percentage of available projects)

Telecommuting is more tangible and easily achieved in most

aspects of IT, and other “desk” jobs as well, but especially in the world of

database administration, design and development.  After all, the databases themselves are now

virtual, and cloud-based! I’m a huge supporter of Telecommuting for many reasons, and

of course, done this myself, both full-time and part-time, throughout my

career, and still deliver delightful database remote services to my

clientele to this day.  In fact, I gave a

presentation (on-site 🙂 back in 2011, at the SQLInspire

event in NYC.  The aptly entitled

preso, “Telecommuting and the Virtual

Office” – you can see me give this TED-talk on the topic.  (I think I still have that shirt somewhere

🙂  It was a hoot, an all-day event with

Andy Leonard, Steve Jones, Tom LaRock, Michael Corey, Andrew Brust and Michael

Coles – presenting on different topics – compressed in a 15-minute lightning


So, back to my

presentation. I spoke about the virtue of telecommuting and the benefits for

both the qualified professional, and the company. The subtitle, you may note,

was “Making the Case to Convince Your Boss!” Basically, the summary agenda

abstract of my talk was:

<<Have you ever dreamed of a job where you roll out of

bed, brush your teeth, and then head to your home office to start your day?

This is a reality for some and desirable by many. Wouldn’t it be great to work

uninterrupted, become more productive, and be home in time for dinner? The kids

would get more mommy or daddy time, and everyone is happy! Even telecommuting

once or twice a week, wouldn’t it boost your morale, balance your life, and

reduce office stress? Robert Pearl shares his experience being a Remote DBA,

including experiences from jobs that had no work from home policy to those with

a 100% telecommuting role. Is it all that it’s cracked up to be? What are the

tradeoffs? What do you need to know to convince management that the company can

actually benefit?>>

Yet, even in 2015, so many companies still refuse to

entertain the possibility of a remote worker. Yes, there are still positives to

having a warm body in a seat, team collaboration, instant interaction,

in-person meetings, and of course, socialization. (I’ll get to socialization,

in the next paragraph)  All of these

however, can easily be compensated by today’s technology. So, in the more draconian

sense, it’s still the corporate mindset that workers off-site cannot be

trusted, or accounted for.  Trust but

verify, is my answer to that, and also, employer guarantees from a reputable

industry vendor. The fact of the matter is, telecommuters are often more

productive that on-siters (did I just coin a new word?) No extended smoking or coffee

breaks, no water-cooler talk, no distractions of constant foot-traffic to your

cubicle.  Sure, there are social virtues

to this, but we’re trying to convince companies to come into the 21st


Oh yeah, back to socialization. Well, it’s not for

everybody, but if you can create your own dose of socialization, outside work

hours, or virtualize that too.  Skype, Lync,

Instant messaging, Google hangouts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram,

still keeps you in touch with all of your peers.  You are even able to expand your circles and

geographic region too.  No, don’t have to

be a recluse, get out there to press-the-flesh, attend networking and training

events, parties, etc.

Career-wise, you can have instant access to information and

answers to questions like never before (waiting for technical support is so 20th

century) Leveraging social networking, you can excel

in your DBA career.  Recently,

focusing on the DBA (database administrator), I introduced the concept of the Social

DBA – you can read that by clicking on the hyperlink. So, maybe office

socialization is overrated.  I mean how

close do you want to get to your co-worker when he or she is coughing and

hacking all over the place (well, some common-sense manners), and staying home

(another great case for the ability to telecommute). 

Let’s think forward a minute about the future of

telecommuting. Will it become more acceptable with accelerated adaptation for

the next generation?  They are in essence

the YouTube & Twitter generation. I’ll admit that my technically inclined son

makes his room home to the Xbox, playing with friends on Xbox live, and surfing

the internet.  Is this not the typical

teenager? Wouldn’t it be great if he could turn it into a cash job? He already

has the skills, and can easily transition into a work-from-home job. (Just get

your own apartment when you’re over 18, ok, buddy 🙂  I would argue that between everything hosted

in the cloud, this type of virtualization of the workforce is indeed the

future!  Just like the Internet explosion

- Embrace

it or die


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Comprehensive Guide to Healthy SQL Server Performance, published by Apress, you can go to the url:


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