• Adversity

    I recently went to the National Adult Baseball national tournament in Phoenix and had a great time. I'd played this year for the first time in 20 years and really enjoyed it. A few people from each of the teams in my league came to the tournament and we fielded a joint Denver area team for the 38 and older tournament.

    And we went 0-5.

    But it was fun. Not so much because of the baseball since it's tough to get beat, sometimes badly, in the desert heat. But more because of the comradare we had with each other. My team sent me, another team sent 2, another 4, and we picked up a few people from around the country that didn't have teams. I had the chance to make some friends and work together towards a common goal.

    We didn't achieve it, but things went well because we were there to pick each other up and help each other out. It was also good to have teammates who could calm someone down when they got upset about a bad call or a strikeout or whatever.

    It really hasn't been much different in IT for me. When I've worked on teams that have worked together towards a common goal, we've generally had a better work environment and gotten productive work accomplished. When I've had individuals working for their own ends, we've struggled as a whole. Someone might succeed, but when another doesn't, no one is there to pick him or her up.

    I firmly believe teamwork is important in business. We all will face adversity, have problems, things go wrong, or just plain get stumped by a problem. It's easy to get down when things are going wrong and there have been a few times when I've let lots of system issues get me down without anyone picking me up. Other times it's been helpful to have someone just pick me up, take me out for a beer, or just pat my shoulder and tell me it will work out.

    I've always stressed the team fit and personality over technical skills when hiring. It's just that much more important to me to have the whole team function better than to have the best of the best of the best working on code.

    I don't think that every business environments needs the type of bonding you get in a sports league, but I do think that having a friend supporting you during those tough times is key to a long term stable environment.

    Steve Jones

  • Yup totally agree - I'm far more productive and far better able to think out of the box if I have colleagues ( team )  to work with. I have found, of course, that organisations don't always support co-operation or communication and some actively discourage it ( yes really ) I sometimes think this is why so much commercial software is so bad - I'm biased as a DBA anyway !!

    Teamwork ( or however you want to describe it ) is a good learning opportunity too - there's so much everyone else always knows no matter what level you're at - miss that at your peril! As I am sometimes sole DBA SQL Central is also my "team" I learn so much. Thanks.

    [font="Comic Sans MS"]The GrumpyOldDBA[/font]

  • I absolutely agree!  I wouldn't have made it thru the last year without the support of a team, and for me that team extended beyond the  normal parameters.  It included the newest members of the working team, hired during that "insane" time fame, went up as high as the IT Department managers, and extended out to some other departments in the company (from HR to the mailroom).  I was dealing with unrealistic expectations from a client (why couldn't we complete a 9-month project in 6 weeks for only $10,000?  we must be slackers), injuries to myself and my partner from a car accident (rear-ended at a red light), a slowly dying grandparent, a split and feuding family (see prior item), the sudden loss of my father-in-law-equivalent from heart failure (on the other side of the country).  I can't tell you how close I came to walking out the door of my company (the client thing was REALLY bad )  My resignation letter was on a memory stick in my pocket every day.

    The only thing that kept me there was the team.  If it hadn't been for their support, I'd have been gone by August 2005.  As it was, I managed to survive (tho not thrive), and I'm now working on healing from that accident (the body does not heal well under severe stress).  And I still work for the same company - a major miracle!  Thanks, team.

    Here there be dragons...,

    Steph Brown

  • I agree team work is important, but it depends on which team you are on.  I worked in many projects in different companies.  These were some of the teams I encountered.

    A team of excellent skill developers with big ego except the project leader.  They argued everything in a meeting.  Things took double the time to finish.

    A team of developers with no skill but they knew how to complain to their project leader that they failed the project because of other departments or other developers.  They refused to accept advice from other people because it would show they were incapable of doing anything.

    A team of developers with good skills but with different working styles and personality.  They did not talk or communicate.  The project leader became the communication channel.

    Working with off shore developers in India.  First no one understood what they said.  It was difficult to work together because of time differences.  If they failed to deliver, the company made us responsible instead of our counter part. If we complained to upper management, the response was 'money', 'money' and 'money'. 

  • Yes  - but haven't you just confirmed Steve's conclusions?

    [font="Comic Sans MS"]The GrumpyOldDBA[/font]

  • Unfortunately it is very hard to find someone in the company you can depend on or ask question.  In my old company I got into trouble when I talked to one co-worker that I did not like to work with one Indian girl who was the DBA. It was not becuase she was an Indian, it was because her skill sucked.  I immediately got a warning from my boss that someone complained I was a racist.  For God sake I am a minority myself.  My boss refused to tell me who that was, otherwise I could turn around and complained that that person was a racist against Asian woman.  So from then on I could not even talk to my friend without whispering.  These days the company can check your email, all the website you click, basically you have no privacy at work.  My mom called me one day at my office, immediately I got a warning that I used business time for personal phone call.  You have to make some personal phone call during business hour, how can you make appointment with your doctor, dentist or many other things.  You never know who is your friend and who is your enemy.   So I decide my co-workers are my co-workers, they can never be my friend !   I used to love to work with a team of people, now I prefer to work alone.

    Also most of the time when I switch job, it is very hard to keep in touch with you friends in your old jobs.  I lived in a medium size city and still never met my old co-workers after I left the company.  I had a good friend at my last job and he said he would keep in touch with me no matter what.  He did not even tell me he quitted his job, so I did not even know where he was.



  • After several redundancies in the eighties I decided to strictly separate my social life from my work life, in order to provide continuity in one while coping with problems in the other. I have never regretted that decision. It now helps me to keep myself motivated and survive in a company with a high turnover and a "people are interchangeable" approach to HR. I absolutely love the work I do and help colleagues as much as I can - I simply do not take part in after-hours activities.

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