How Do You Handle the Stress of Being a DBA?

  • Brad McGehee

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5272

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item How Do You Handle the Stress of Being a DBA?

    Brad M. McGehee
    DBA

  • arun.sas

    SSChampion

    Points: 11831

    Hi,

    A news from new co-worker in the lunch, they have the server in one location and another sister office access the application by the 2mbps RF connection just 40 kms away from headquarters. Most of the time from other location end users says the application found slow in process. Finally they conduct the analysis, in there the application vendors raised the trick questions to them that “is the same bad procedures run quickly in the server location?” .then the ball move to the infra team, they shows the big chart, says the density and other unknown terminology that’s 2 mbps is enough. The ball waiting for the top officials play, most of them in the HQ have the hollow effect on the sister office.

    At last what happen you known! He asked,

    I say, I don’t know,

    "so I am here" he says,

    I say to him “Be prepare to mobile!”

  • Henrico Bekker

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 27652

    Hi Brad, interesting topic, but also very relevant!

    As the only DBA in our environment, I have the privilige of running the show myself, and everyone else relying on my advice and assistance.....but....things arent always that easy..

    I found by coming in a hour earlier than anyone, "prepping" the environment for their use, checking the jobs, making sure our dev environment is updated etc ensures that I am free to monitor all activities through the day.

    I constantly check all processes running against the DB's so ensure optimal performance for the end users, but also to make sure the developers arent pushing code that could cause problems, block, delete etc...

    On a daily basis I try to send them at least one tip/trick from a best practise point of view...

    Myself and the current developers enherited a shaky system, with "weird" procedures, so applying best practise from day one was the only way to go forward..what has been done, cannot be undone (without hours of work, testing - you know the drill).

    Stopping anyone who is not playing nice with my DB's is also fun, and I got the clearance from Management to do so ( 😀 )

    I think it is each DBA's responsibility to look after his DB's as if they were his/her children, and wouldnt let anything bad happen to them, to make sure they are warm (online), not being teased (hammered with "select *'s "), and not being abused....

    I feel - the less manual maintenance I have to do through the day, the more time I have to play cop when it matters.

    Oh, and lastly, on the subject of Dev's not respecting you.... whenever you try to point out a fault from their side, always, but always back it up with proof, or tests to indicate, that they are wrong indeed, and that will get you some respect...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This thing is addressing problems that dont exist. Its solution-ism at its worst. We are dumbing down machines that are inherently superior. - Gilfoyle

  • Eichpeel

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1079

    How to handle the stress? Not sure... but my way of dealing with it is: "keep things in perspective". I am not saying I take my job lightly. In fact, I take it very seriously and I hate to get a SQL notifications telling me one of my jobs has failed but...

    Keep in mind what is important in life is absolutely vital to staying sane: pictures of the kids on my desk, running between 50 to 80 miles a week, talking to my parents and surrounding myself with true friends has helped me tremendously to deal with stressful work.

    As far as solving issues in a calm and composed manner, listening carefully to issues when they come up, getting advice from very experienced SQL developers and DBA from SQL Server Central, reading very free PDF from Red Gate and Phil Factors' blog, and mentor less experiences developers are keys to keeping a serene piece of mind.

    That's my take on it. Eager to read more answers.

    "Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write
    code that humans can understand." -Martin Fowler et al, Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, 1999

  • F. Dwarf

    Default port

    Points: 1488

    I train tae kwon do 3 times a week. I've found that kicking other people and being kicked by them in a controlled environment relieves all the stress 😀

    Oh, and I cook too; but only when I'm in the mood for it

  • SQLRNNR

    SSC Guru

    Points: 281210

    Some good things I like to do include User Group participation like the local PASS chapter, SSC participation, exercise and flat out getting away from work.

    There is also the big picture piece of it, knowing that when a project is finished and it runs smoothly - you get the sense of accomplishment for having a piece of the projects success.

    Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
    _______________________________________________
    I have given a name to my pain...MCM SQL Server, MVP
    SQL RNNR
    Posting Performance Based Questions - Gail Shaw[/url]
    Learn Extended Events

  • arun.sas

    SSChampion

    Points: 11831

    Aaron Gonzalez-394690 (1/20/2010)


    I train tae kwon do 3 times a week. I've found that kicking other people and being kicked by them in a controlled environment relieves all the stress

    Good potential stress controlled by Technical Knock Out, who is the referee in your game?

  • Harvey Camm

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 266

    Compartmentalise: I try to give all I've got but not all the time - when I'm away from the office I grow veg and do the family stuff, separate the home and office and give all you can to each in due course.

    Harvey

  • Ben Moorhouse

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2385

    I ride a motorbike to and from work which relaxes me nicely on the way home to my family.

    Whilst at work though, it became regular practice for me to be given a project and asked for a completion date, only for it to be completely ignored and a much shorter deadline given. I'd then take the stress and try anything to get it done, fail quite a lot of the time and get a bad review as a result.

    Now I document what is involved and their individual timescales (x2 to allow for problems) and if they want to shorten the deadline I tell them that some work needs to be removed, because those individual deadlines are not adjustable.

    Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't take the micky with the timescales I set, I generally end up finishing a little bit before the deadline. At the same time, I'm no longer taking on the stress because someone's promised someone else that a piece of work will be done in a week.

    🙂

  • Lempster

    SSCoach

    Points: 15433

    Harvey Camm (1/21/2010)


    Compartmentalise: I try to give all I've got but not all the time - when I'm away from the office I grow veg and do the family stuff, separate the home and office and give all you can to each in due course.

    Harvey

    I couldn't agree more! I also try to end each working day with a completed task, however small, rather than leaving something mid-flow. To quote Blur 'it gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing' 😀

    In my experience a major factor of stress for a DBA is not being taken seriously, not so much as an individual, but in terms of the job we do; sad to say, but the majority of companies I've worked for tend to see DBAs as more of a necessary evil rather than essential members of an IT team.......maybe that's just a reflection on my poor choices of employer though!

    Lempster

  • Ben Moorhouse

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2385

    Lempster (1/21/2010)


    ...the majority of companies I've worked for tend to see DBAs as more of a necessary evil rather than essential members of an IT team.......maybe that's just a reflection on my poor choices of employer though!

    Lempster

    I'd suggest that it's more that you're a good DBA (not that I've seen you work) - a good DBA should seem like an insurance policy to an "outsider", their work only becoming obvious when things go wrong with this miraculous speedy data thingy.

    So the fact that you're a "necessary evil" suggests that they're not getting to see your Fix-It skills very often (a good thing).

  • Lempster

    SSCoach

    Points: 15433

    Thanks Ben! I'm going to print your comment and take it to my next performance review 😉

  • Ben Moorhouse

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2385

    Go for it - it's true isn't it! A DBAs biggest aim is to maintain the databases; keeping them running nice and smoothly and preparing for the worst.

  • Lempster

    SSCoach

    Points: 15433

    Ben Moorhouse (1/21/2010)


    ...A DBAs biggest aim is to maintain the databases; keeping them running nice and smoothly and preparing for the worst.

    It is, but I also think that (depending on what type of DBA you are and where your interests lie) a DBA has much more to offer, e.g. working with a Data Architect during database design, reviewing code/stored procedures written by developers, helping to raise the profile of BI within a company etc.

    The days of the purely operations-based DBA (backup/restore adhoc T-SQL queries) are coming to an end IMHO and we need to have many more strings to our bow. This represents a great opportunity for the pro-active DBA to raise his/her profile within an organisation and it is with this thought in mind that I refer to the stress and frustration caused when despite their best efforts, the true value of a DBA is not recognised.

    Right, I'll get off my soap box now!

    Regards

    Lempster

  • Open Minded

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1842

    i went two years alcoholic. i am trying to get off for a month now by having beer laced with gin only, no more vodka laced with gin. :w00t:

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