Too Large a Workload?

  • Reading through the posts from other folks, my voice will be one among many. Too many users making too many ridiculous requests means tons of busy work. One hardly has time to even consider reworking/improving lousy stored procedures, implementing best practices, and so on. One of the chief culprits, IMHO, is that we're not seen as business partners. Instead, it's "do this", "fix that", "is it done yet", and so on. I drone on and on about being king for a day/week/month/year and how I'd rewrite most SLAs. My last gripe has to do with "yes" men/women. For crying out loud, learn what the word "no" means. How about prioritization?

  • Xavon (1/30/2015)

    Yes. I am expected to be a full time developer, part time DBA, and part time production support (which sort of ties into the first two, but it still adds to the work load). And the latter two mean I am on call 24/7/365.25. And to add to that, I cannot tell you the last time I had a vacation or sick day that was not interrupted some sort of call...

    I've been there. No matter how much you talk, it won't get better until you let it break :crying:

    Sorry. It's hard. The thing is, you will end up burned out or sick, or you'll get divorced or wake up one day and realize that you missed 10 years of your kid's life. Not worth it. Get out!

  • All of last year was just brutal. Now that I got caught up over the holidays life is so much better.

    The biggest issue last year were people's arbitrary deadlines. I work in a place with 1 boss, 20 clients, 6 developers, 6 project managers, and me the DBA. I'm the only one with access to the production servers so everything has to be analysed, approved, and implemented by me. This never seems to be a concern for the project managers when they set their deadlines. "Can't say that to the client."

    I try not to work overtime, because I don't want to work for free. I save my overtime for the midnight shifts where we have to shut all our websites down for maintenance or implementing significant changes, usually once a quarter but sometimes once a month. Those shifts are 12am to 6am. I'm supposed to get time off for them, but with my work load I just can't take the time off. You know ... deadlines.

    I do let deadlines slide because 80% of the time they're just made up dates. I don't recommend it though, people don't seem to like that. 😉

    Here's a question ... are you always the last person to leave the office at night? I hardly ever see anyone else still there when I leave.

  • I'd be fine if it wasn't for the meetings I have to attend and timesheets I have to fill in and worrying about which pot of wooden dollars are going to buy and enterprise wide benefit

  • Gah! Another place with too many PM's

    That's a PM per developer - that's madness!

    Try and justify a DBA per server - same thing! Would never happen.

  • I put in eight hours a day. I used to burn the midnight oil, but to what end? Nothing changed. They will not write on my tombstone that I died at my desk working on a DB!

  • New thread: "amusing tombstone captions for DBAs"

  • thomas.lenzmeier (1/30/2015)

    I put in eight hours a day. I used to burn the midnight oil, but to what end? Nothing changed. They will not write on my tombstone that I died at my desk working on a DB!

    Right-on 🙂

  • This is the perfect post for my day today. I've recently transitioned to a permanent job at a small company after being a contract SQL Server ETL and, by my willingness to learn on the job, a Cognos Reports developer with that company for some time. A few weeks after I joined as a FTE, the 'DBA' quit and I've now assumed pretty much all of his responsibilities in the vacuum of anyone else with adequate skills.

    So, I now have Cognos reports that I support, and their users, I fully own all SQL Server ETL (on SQL Server 2005/SSIS 2005--yay! NOT). I've been trying to get the production SQL Servers up to something at least close to best practices. I've got production databases that were created 3 years ago in full recovery mode that have never had a tran log backup... Servers that have never had their sys dbs backed up, backups that fail 75% of the time because the destination has no space. You have probably seen it before, the small company nightmare. A nightmare that I hadn't planned to own as an ETL/Reports developer.

    So, yes, this IT worker is overtasked and needs to suddenly know a new company's infrastructure, build process, network, firewall, Informix drivers, etc. Without formal training except on my core competency: SQL Server & SSIS. This week I'm building a virtual and a real SQL Server (2012--YAY!) and self training on how to set up Informix drivers, how to install on machines with no internet connection, how large the page file should be, etc.

    This job is stressful and it is left to the individual employee to try to manage it.

    Got to run, the UNIX shell reports and Informatica ETL (no training on either) for the month end process needs to be set up...

  • GA Programmer (1/30/2015)

    I've commented often about this issue within our industry. I think the biggest problem is ourselves. We don't set down the proper expectations, so when they ask us to do more, we do it. Then we do it again, then again until we are overwhelmed. Many other departments may also be overworked, but for the same reasons. I work for a company where the expectations are clearly defined. I work a 40 hr week, except during emergencies or planned off-hours upgrades. No one expects you to say "not my problem" during emergencies or tight deadlines, but it should not be the norm. Learn the power of NO.

    The workers in this industry have done this to themselves, incrementally, over time and unless people start trying to change it, they should expect to spend the rest of their life in an overworked panic mode. Sure, everyone is scared of losing their job, but if you are overworked (and therefore, by definition, underpaid), then is it really a bad thing?

    I think there's some truth here, not completely, but certainly a lot of people unable to say no.

  • Here, here! The question then becomes, "what part of the word "no" don't you understand? 😀

  • rwaring 96203 (1/30/2015)

    Glad to hear it, Melissa! Someone will have to take over when us old codgers retire. Which for me, is four years away. But who's counting? 🙂


    Rebecca, Lucky you!

    I've got six years to go.

  • My immediate thought was that of course my manager understands the complexity of my job and I normally don't work long hours or a lot of overtime. Then I realized that I am writing this here at work today, on Saturday, my day off.

  • thomas.lenzmeier (1/30/2015)

    Here, here! The question then becomes, "what part of the word "no" don't you understand? 😀

    First time I heard some say this in an argument I had to leave the room before I started laughing.

    Such a simple word, but for some, difficult to understand

  • I'm glad to see this is not just a rant. When I first saw the topic, I though uh-oh!:w00t:

    I work for a company that has been running lean and mean for several years due to three things: changes in the industry which my company is affiliated, changes to Microsoft licensing, and inability to find people. We have gone from proactive to reactive in our approach to day-day work. Our team, being the SQL DBA team, is in a full-blown effort to scale back the number of SQL servers to bring costs into alignment.

    Although it is generally recognized by leadership in our organization that we are far more efficient than the IT industry as a whole, it is really starting to wear thin. Every quarter we have a division meeting touting this fact, but to date there have been no rewards for these accomplishments, at least not on our team who is like the water or electric department tasked with keeping the utilities running. I do hope there will be light at the end of the tunnel because I can see the signs of stress taking its toll on team members.

    In regards to the "just say no" statements, as worker bees we are not in a position to determine what gets approved as work and what does not. Fortunately, our team is blessed with good front-line leadership who has taken control of the requests coming in and they do take the time to manage the process.

    Despite this, I would still encougage people to get into IT. The SQL DBA field may not be a bright light at this moment due to the licensing costs, but it is still a place to earn a good living.

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