DBAs and the Career-Life Balance

  • TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    I once was interviewed by Citrix and the Cambodian that interviewed me told me "We work hard, but we play hard too." Which my response was "What exactly does that mean?" I guess no one ever challenged him on it before because he was just flabbergasted and did not even have an answer.

    "We take the team out for drinks on a friday night and go-carting some Saturdays. No, you can't decline and spend time with your family. What kind of a team player are you?"

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • GilaMonster (1/17/2012)


    TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    I once was interviewed by Citrix and the Cambodian that interviewed me told me "We work hard, but we play hard too." Which my response was "What exactly does that mean?" I guess no one ever challenged him on it before because he was just flabbergasted and did not even have an answer.

    "We take the team out for drinks on a friday night and go-carting some Saturdays. No, you can't decline and spend time with your family. What kind of a team player are you?"

    So what are you are really saying? That "playing hard" involves drinking and if I don't go out with you on a Friday night that I am not a team player?

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    GilaMonster (1/17/2012)


    TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    I once was interviewed by Citrix and the Cambodian that interviewed me told me "We work hard, but we play hard too." Which my response was "What exactly does that mean?" I guess no one ever challenged him on it before because he was just flabbergasted and did not even have an answer.

    "We take the team out for drinks on a friday night and go-carting some Saturdays. No, you can't decline and spend time with your family. What kind of a team player are you?"

    So what are you are really saying? That "playing hard" involves drinking and if I don't go out with you on a Friday night that I am not a team player?

    I'm not, but I've met some managers who did.

    My comment was a guess as to what that phrase could have meant (and what I've seen it interpreted as at some places)

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • GilaMonster (1/17/2012)


    TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    GilaMonster (1/17/2012)


    TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    I once was interviewed by Citrix and the Cambodian that interviewed me told me "We work hard, but we play hard too." Which my response was "What exactly does that mean?" I guess no one ever challenged him on it before because he was just flabbergasted and did not even have an answer.

    "We take the team out for drinks on a friday night and go-carting some Saturdays. No, you can't decline and spend time with your family. What kind of a team player are you?"

    So what are you are really saying? That "playing hard" involves drinking and if I don't go out with you on a Friday night that I am not a team player?

    I'm not, but I've met some managers who did.

    My comment was a guess as to what that phrase could have meant (and what I've seen it interpreted as at some places)

    Maybe, and if that was the case, maybe that is why he didn't answer the return question, because he probably quickly realized he should not be saying stuff like that in a interview in the first place. 😀

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES:

    As a Jr SQL dev, I've have always tried to abide by one rule: there is a median between Work and Home, and I will always stay in it. So far, for the last 3 years, this has been true (I have a 2 yr old, greatest part of life).

    When 5pm hits, its home time. But, from 8am-5pm, its SQL, all day, everyday.

    Even when surfing SQLServerCentral & SQL blogging, it should be a part of your breaks, lunch, and maybe 30 mins to 60 mins of work time, not home time. I know not all businesses/managers see it this way, but my experience so far with various ones, allows for these type of learning situations.

    I think when it comes to us SQL folks, we get split into two groups: Technical and Analysts

    The technical guys I see are usually those that can answer any question SQL server related, but are also the guys that work the longest, and have turned this into their hobby and home time.

    The analysts guys I see typically have been those who know the technical portion of their job well enough, but also grasp other portions of the business, with much thinking towards other technologies and methodologies. These guys, for what it is, make greater use of their 8-5 (because they have too with their brain-gerbils running at full speed), leaving at 5 to join the family and enjoy life. I've met more managers looking for the family guy and team player who knows enough, then the nutzoid SQL-geek.

    Its all in what you want out of life, but I must say to the other young junior devs out there: If you want to enjoy life with family and friends, avoid getting into the habit of being SQL obsessed 24/7 now. Maximize your 8-5, because when you hit 35 and your kid is 7 and you dont remember much from 1-6, you can't get that time back.

    Again, all of this is from personal experiences. I understand everyone is different.

    Stephen

  • butler-628023 (1/16/2012)


    The pastor who performed my marriage and counseled my wife and I before the blessed event gave me this wise advice...Put family events (i.e. commitments) in your planner along with your business appointments. When people ask you to do something when you already have a family commitment tell them "no" just like you would with a business conflict. 99% of the times another time will work out. I do occasionally get some strange looks from young, single, career-obsessed colleagues, but they usually work around my prior commitments without any complaints. As has been mentioned already, it's always instructive to ask yourself what will matter to you in 10 years. I have never answered that question on the side of work.

    Wise words. Actually, most of the time they admire your ability to do so much. Actually a movie just recently came out on DVD that was sort of about this..

  • In this day and age, the most powerful word you could ever utter to somebody is "NO." And this is especially true with men because we feel like saying NO is a sign of weakness. But it is liberating to know that you were able to say NO because you have your priorities straightened out.

    As for scheduling family events in your calendar, I'm all for it. You've probably heard of the story about putting the big rocks in first. Here's a reference blog post. And if you can grab the book First Things First by Stephen Covey, it's an excellent read.

    "Helping people and organizations grow and develop their full potential as God has planned for them"
    Twitter | Blog | LinkedIn

  • Thanks for all the thoughful responses so far.

    Brad M. McGehee
    DBA

  • butler-628023 (1/16/2012)


    The pastor who performed my marriage and counseled my wife and I before the blessed event gave me this wise advice...Put family events (i.e. commitments) in your planner along with your business appointments. When people ask you to do something when you already have a family commitment tell them "no" just like you would with a business conflict. 99% of the times another time will work out. I do occasionally get some strange looks from young, single, career-obsessed colleagues, but they usually work around my prior commitments without any complaints. As has been mentioned already, it's always instructive to ask yourself what will matter to you in 10 years. I have never answered that question on the side of work.

    That does not work when you are on call 24/7 and a emergency arises. A commitment like "I got my son's soccer game I already promised him I to go to..." just doesn't wash with the Help Desk. Maybe it won't matter in 10 years, but I need to keep eating and living indoors today too..:-D

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • I am also doing on-call duties but we do rotations. If you're on-call 24/7 most of the time, there's something wrong with scheduling or resource allocation. I make sure that whenever I am scheduled to be the on-call DBA, I look at my calendar first before agreeing to take the schedule. I also tell my kids that we need to let everyone know about upcoming events so we can schedule them appropriately. But we're flexible. We just need to understand what our priorities are

    "Helping people and organizations grow and develop their full potential as God has planned for them"
    Twitter | Blog | LinkedIn

  • TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    butler-628023 (1/16/2012)


    The pastor who performed my marriage and counseled my wife and I before the blessed event gave me this wise advice...Put family events (i.e. commitments) in your planner along with your business appointments. When people ask you to do something when you already have a family commitment tell them "no" just like you would with a business conflict. 99% of the times another time will work out. I do occasionally get some strange looks from young, single, career-obsessed colleagues, but they usually work around my prior commitments without any complaints. As has been mentioned already, it's always instructive to ask yourself what will matter to you in 10 years. I have never answered that question on the side of work.

    That does not work when you are on call 24/7 and a emergency arises. A commitment like "I got my son's soccer game I already promised him I to go to..." just doesn't wash with the Help Desk. Maybe it won't matter in 10 years, but I need to keep eating and living indoors today too..:-D

    I think you are missing the point of the advice. This is sort of what I meant by the difference between the technical and the analyst. You must not take it for your literal meanings, and find its underlying meanings. One analogy: its like reading ancient text today and taking it word for word. Please, don't go out and cut the hands off of someone because they were stealing bread when they are homeless. Its the basic principles we are after, and this can only be acquired by strong critical thinking.

    Of course, if you are on call...then that will become priority number 1, but I hope this is not happening a lot for you.

    It also comes down to your type of business, manager, and personal professional goals which really drive this topic. Its going to be different for all of us, but no matter what your opinion we can learn from each others experiences.

  • TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    butler-628023 (1/16/2012)


    The pastor who performed my marriage and counseled my wife and I before the blessed event gave me this wise advice...Put family events (i.e. commitments) in your planner along with your business appointments. When people ask you to do something when you already have a family commitment tell them "no" just like you would with a business conflict. 99% of the times another time will work out. I do occasionally get some strange looks from young, single, career-obsessed colleagues, but they usually work around my prior commitments without any complaints. As has been mentioned already, it's always instructive to ask yourself what will matter to you in 10 years. I have never answered that question on the side of work.

    That does not work when you are on call 24/7 and a emergency arises. A commitment like "I got my son's soccer game I already promised him I to go to..." just doesn't wash with the Help Desk.

    Emergencies are one thing, utterly trivial things that can wait til the next day/week is another thing.

    Eg, a project manager once came up to me on Friday afternoon and asked 'You know that complex data analysis you were going to start on Monday, any chance we can expedite it? Maybe you could spend the weekend on it?'

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • GilaMonster (1/17/2012)


    TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    butler-628023 (1/16/2012)


    The pastor who performed my marriage and counseled my wife and I before the blessed event gave me this wise advice...Put family events (i.e. commitments) in your planner along with your business appointments. When people ask you to do something when you already have a family commitment tell them "no" just like you would with a business conflict. 99% of the times another time will work out. I do occasionally get some strange looks from young, single, career-obsessed colleagues, but they usually work around my prior commitments without any complaints. As has been mentioned already, it's always instructive to ask yourself what will matter to you in 10 years. I have never answered that question on the side of work.

    That does not work when you are on call 24/7 and a emergency arises. A commitment like "I got my son's soccer game I already promised him I to go to..." just doesn't wash with the Help Desk.

    Emergencies are one thing, utterly trivial things that can wait til the next day/week is another thing.

    Eg, a project manager once came up to me on Friday afternoon and asked 'You know that complex data analysis you were going to start on Monday, any chance we can expedite it? Maybe you could spend the weekend on it?'

    RIF. Which I why I specifically said that does not work when you are "on-call 24/7" and the Help Desk calls with what they say is an "emergency". It might be, and it might not be, but until you get online and prove that it isn't, you still must respond. Most DBA's I know are on call 24/7 because they are either the only DBA, or one of two, and when "on call" they must be a half-hour max from a remote connection. period. Its either that, or carry a wireless laptop to your son's soccer game, or the movie theatre. It's just the nature of the business. 😀

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • Please, don't go out and cut the hands off of someone because they were stealing bread when they are homeless. Its the basic principles we are after, and this can only be acquired by strong critical thinking.

    I think you are referring to the Arab world, they do that. However, it's still no excuse to steal, nor is being homeless an excuse to break into to someone's house to steal food. You are still going to jail, or quite possibly the morgue. That is the basic principle right there, it's knowing the difference between the way things are in the world, and the way things should be. 😀

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • TravisDBA (1/17/2012)


    Please, don't go out and cut the hands off of someone because they were stealing bread when they are homeless. Its the basic principles we are after, and this can only be acquired by strong critical thinking.

    I think you are referring to the Arab world, they do that. However, it's still no excuse to steal, nor is being homeless an excuse to break into to someone's house to steal food. You are still going to jail, or quite possibly the morgue. That is the basic principle right there, it's knowing the difference between the way things are in the world, and the way things should be. 😀

    So punish for doing wrong, but don't teach them right? Actually, I would say the principle would be to strive for good and not wrong, but there are various underlying reasons to the example. However, limiting your opinions to just one and not several, will definitely hamper your horizons.

    Also, I know this is done in the arab world, but go figure everyone doesn't agree with that (have you seen all these riots over the last year?).

    We must agree to disagree. There is a difference between being a realist, and just being a pessimist. The point in his advice from earlier involved seeing the big picture, and as a strong critical thinker, extract multiple conclusions towards acting on our morals and values, teaching good morals and values, and learning to better our morals and values.

    We are on either side of the fence on this. But a debate is good conversation nonetheless.

    Stephen

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 47 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login to reply