Things We Are Missing

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Things We Are Missing

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • First of all, during my working years I attended very few conferences, and only a few more 'meetings' with other IT folks outside an employer.  Most of my outside interaction was limited to classes to promote skills.

    My radical opinion regarding the lack of meetings between employees during the pandemic is that it probably is of far less importance and effect that lots of folks seem to feel.  While I acknowledge the importance of meeting with other departments about development and maintenance issues, some internal department and team meetings, and even occasional social gatherings I have to say that I think the concept is way over-done.

    My admittedly sarcastic description has been:  "Any time a meeting involves more that three people and/or lasts more than ten minutes, you are wasting someone's time".   I think you get my point.  An effective manager will have the discernment to determine the appropriate people, frequency, topics, and duration for meetings and limit both to what is actually needed.

    Over the years I many times left meetings in progress when they got to the point of being a waste.  And after my first retirement, when I was invited to return to work, one of my conditions was that my involvement in meetings would be severely limited.  This actually worked quite well for another three years.

     

    Rick

    The only thing worse than being an influencer
    is believing one.

  • I believe that what's missing can be described by a single word...

    SERENDIPITY : The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Grant, I agree with a lot that you said, but want to play the Devil's Advocate in this response.

    Like you, I am an introvert, in that I prefer to work alone. Indeed, I'm very much hoping that I won't have to return to the office. I'd much rather work from home where I have far fewer interruptions and distractions, than I have in the office. But I also love going to conferences to participate and meet with people. I helped started two .NET user groups in my area. Perhaps I'm an omnivert/ambivert. Anyway, I've experienced the benefit of meeting with people at conferences. I've learned how valuable that can be. In my previous job I worked for a university. Universities don't pay well, but they understand the value of learning and training. I got lots of both while working for the university, for which I am very thankful. Unless our budget was exceedingly tight, everyone in IT got to go to a conference once a year.

    Unfortunately, that situation ended and everyone in the group I was a part of was eventually laid off. Now I work for one of the largest state departments in my state. This department has a history of not sending any IT person (I mean both operations and developers in this case) to any conference or training for decades. I don't know all the reasons why this is, but they say it's budget is one of the highest reasons to not send anyone, anywhere. OK, but it seems odd to me that a state department could employ thousands of people, hiring hundreds each year and not afford to send someone to a conference at least every once and a while. I just don't think they've had any priority on keeping people's skills up to date, at least for a very long time. The result of no one going anywhere to a conference or training of any sort is that people have more than a fear of anything new. I'd use the word "terror". That loathsome feeling one gets where their guys are tied up in knots, so afraid of trying or doing anything new that it debilitates them to consider it. Therefore, an excuse of not even having a chance to go to a conference turned out to be a convenient crutch.

    However, the COVID-19 induced pandemic has made it possible to attend many conferences for free, virtually. Anyone could attend one of these conferences for free from the comfort of their home. So, even if they experienced terrors of something new, at least it was in an environment that was familiar. And some of my colleagues took advantage of that. So, although virtual conferences do miss out on things that in-person conferences have, it's a darn sight better than no conferences of any sort at all.

    And for that matter, even going to an in-person conference doesn't mean that everyone will have the opportunity to gain from an in-person conference equally. For example, in my current position I advocated for three years to go to Microsoft Ignite. To my surprise, my current employer agreed to letting me go to MS Ignite in 2019. (Perhaps this shows a change in their attitude towards letting people attend conferences and gain new skills. I certainly hope that's the case.) I went to Ignite that year and had a good time, met lots of new people. But later I found that a podcaster I know personally attended a dinner with other people I'd loved to have met with one evening during the conference. I certainly would have liked to have been invited to that dinner, but I wasn't. I really like this podcaster, but I'll say that I had that awful feeling one got in high school when you learn you're not one of the "cool kids". In-person conferences can have that negative impact upon people, too, Grant.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • I am an introvert as well.... And after taking advantage of many online conferences over this past year, I don't see myself flying and staying in a hotel for a conference ever again. Yeah... meeting new people at conferences is cool. But over this past year due to Covid-19, I started reconnecting and networking with former co-workers. It was incredibly rewarding to catch up with old colleagues and discuss projects, technologies, and other general topics.

    As far as work virtual meeting goes, short (30 min. max) and objective meetings are the key to keep people engaged and avoid multitasking (gotta love when someone in a meeting says 'can you repeat the question?' ).  My team, most senior consultants, have been more productive working remote, and some colleagues do not want to go back to the office and/or travel for in-person meetings. However, the biggest impact on my team is with junior developers; in-person communication and coaching can go a long way when you are starting your career.

  • Hey all!

    Thanks for the feedback. I have no arguments to make against any of it. As I said in the editorial, all I have are questions here.

    One point I will reiterate though, study after study, tests & lots of 'em, have proven that, all other things being equal, in-person communication is superior to online. Same thing goes for in-person learning. It's that loss of efficiency that I wonder at. I know that remote learning & virtual conferences expanded insanely over the last year. Yet, they are less efficient. Still feels like something must be lost. I'm just not sure what. Maybe Jeff hit what I'm going for with serendipity. I just don't know.

     

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • I've been pretty happy... as some say... "Loving the lockdown".  But, I have to agree with you Grant.  Being around people does promote spontaneous discussion, which supports and enables the serendipity thing that can lead to "eureka" and other idea-producing/problem-solving moments of clarity.  It's much less likely to happen when working remotely unless folks don't actually mind spontaneous 1-on-1 Teams (or similar) calls.  Even then, there are distractions that lead away from such conversations just because of the lack of physical presence.

    To be sure, thanks for starting this discussion.  Heh... you do pretty well for a self-confessed introvert. 😀

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • DL* wrote:

    I am an introvert as well.... And after taking advantage of many online conferences over this past year, I don't see myself flying and staying in a hotel for a conference ever again. Yeah... meeting new people at conferences is cool. But over this past year due to Covid-19, I started reconnecting and networking with former co-workers. It was incredibly rewarding to catch up with old colleagues and discuss projects, technologies, and other general topics.

    As far as work virtual meeting goes, short (30 min. max) and objective meetings are the key to keep people engaged and avoid multitasking (gotta love when someone in a meeting says 'can you repeat the question?' ).  My team, most senior consultants, have been more productive working remote, and some colleagues do not want to go back to the office and/or travel for in-person meetings. However, the biggest impact on my team is with junior developers; in-person communication and coaching can go a long way when you are starting your career.

    DL, you brought up a really interesting point. During this lockdown I have reconnected with former coworkers as well. That has been very rewarding, discussing modern technologies, careers, etc.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • I miss adult contact and discussions, debates, etc. I get to work with lots of kids still, as a coach, but I miss conferences, the office, even random talks about technology or life with adults in various places.

    The serendipity that Jeff mentioned is gone when we're on Zoom/Teams/etc.

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