I cheated on SQL Server

It’s hard to believe that it has been roughly 2.5 years and 45 posts since I started this blog. I don’t need to do the math to see that I should be blogging more, but in reality…I’m not sure how much I can do at this point in my life. I have two young children that are going to know who their daddy is. I have to support my family so my full-time gig is what keeps things going. That’s where this story began a few years back, with a passion for learning and helping others along the way.

So I guess you may be wondering what I mean when I say that I “cheated on SQL Server”. Maybe the image of a teenager with “SELECT *” on the palm of his hand during an exam comes to mind (right), or being unfaithful to our better half. Well, I haven’t cheated on anyone or anything but I am ashamed of what I have done. I almost let a great deal of hard work and effort go by the way side as I lost track of my vision. A few years back I took a job where I was handed some DBA material and asked to see if I could do some performance tuning and get things to stop crashing. What I saw in the days after that could only be described as an enlightened view into a community different from most others. I was fortunate enough to find a few really bright and passionate individuals who helped me discover the path I was about to take. This list isn’t comprehensive but a few of those individuals:
Brent Ozar (Blog|Twitter)
Thomas LaRock (Blog | Twitter)
Brad Mcgehee (Blog|Twitter)

I wish I could include everyone but there were so many that had a passion for what they did and wanted to help others follow the same path. I started the journey to go from systems administration to “Exceptional DBA”. That meant reading everything about SQL Server that I could get my hands on, getting certified to put a time sensitive deadline as a goal, and starting a blog (“Becoming A SQL Master”) to start giving back to the community. On top of starting the blog, I also began going to forums and try to answer questions by researching it or seeing if I could reproduce the problem. So thus began the long nights of studying SQL Server 2005 when the only servers in my environment were SQL Server 2000. With an infant son, it was quite the struggle to stay dedicated to the goals I had set but I still had my dedicated “home office” at the time so I could close the door and hammer it out. I was tired of being a “Jack of all trades, master of none” I saw that the true experts are the ones who were in demand and could write their own ticket. It sure wasn’t the guy who knew a little bit about everything, and that’s the bucket I fell in.

In Little Rock, there aren’t a ton of junior level SQL Server DBA positions, so the waiting game was long and taxing. I had opportunities in other locations, but I couldn’t pick up my family again and move. I had a couple of contract-to-hire positions come up, but at the time I didn’t feel comfortable enough in my abilities to take that risk.

So if you have made it this far you are either really bored or you’re a family member so I’ll get to the cheating.

Sometime around January of this year (2011), I decided that it just wasn’t going to happen for me. Maybe I was just destined to be a Systems Administrator…not that there’s anything wrong with that and the good Lord may put me back in that role someday. I even went so far as to change the title of the blog to “A hodgepodge of Information Technology and Life” so that I could write about other topics and broaden my reach. At the time of the change I had 19 subscribers on my feed (don’t laugh, as I thought that was a start), but after feedburner got everything sorted out it was down to 4 subscribers. I began to get more involved in Active Directory, PowerShell, Group Policy, and all things IT. I tried to get involved in different communities, but to me there just wasn’t something like the SQL Server community. I began to miss the thing that had encompassed so much of my time and I enjoyed it.

Then it happened…conversation started with a consulting firm that had contacted me earlier but I didn’t feel confident enough to take the risk. This time was different. I had the knowledge, I had the passion, and I had 4 subscribers…I could do this. I’m not afraid of working hard and proving myself and that’s what I have to do. I left a very secure job (nevermind that I was out of room for advancement), to take a contract-to-hire job. The goal is to get hired on full-time. The goal is to start a PASS Chapter in Little Rock. The goal is to become an MVP. The goal is to never lose a passion for being the best that I can be while being unselfish in helping others who want to do the same.

I’m back with SQL Server and it’s pretty exclusive. I’m throwing away my little black IT book and going back to full-fledged SQL Server. Hopefully I don’t get off track again for some time.


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