Many of us work for some organization and we're responsible for managing a database or coding some application or some other data related position. Perhaps we ensure reports work for our users or move data around. In many cases, we have customers, whether they are internal to our organization or perhaps external from another business or even the wider public.
However, many of us see our jobs as a part of the org/business and not that we are actually providing some service to others that we are responsible for. While I've certainly felt that way, I learned at some point that if I were an app dev, I ought to treat people using my app as customers, even though they don't pay me in currency. They often pay me in praise, or better yet, with praise to my boss. As a DBA, I treated both app devs and users as customers. That helped me take pride in my work and learn to view my position from other points of view.
There was a post on learnings from running a SaaS service for a year. While few of us maintain a SaaS service, we could think of the app we build as Software-as-a-service, albeit without any revenue. We could see databases we manage as DBaaS (databases as a service) or PaaS (platform as a service) items.
I think that the way we view the world, or view our situations, can be helpful to us in managing our workloads. We can better triage what is critical, what's important, and what's nice to have. We can decide when an issue deserves some to cause some stress and we might give an extra effort, and when something can wait until tomorrow. We can decide when we push back on demands and when we accommodate them.
This approach has also helped me to think about ways to improve the service/software/platform I provide to others in ways that helps my customers, or makes my job easier. This way of thinking leads me to make the situation better when I can. It also helps me to discuss the decisions with others, especially management, in terms that can matter to them. Are we finding ways to improve the overall system.
It doesn't always work, but it often has for me.
And if you're interested in your own side project, the journey continues in part two. Perhaps you can spend an hour or two a day and build something that becomes your own business. That's what happened to me with SQL Server Central.