Q: Does speaking at SQL Sat, etc. and learning presentation skills help with blog writing skills?
Yes, and vice versa – it’s all about:
- Learning who your audience is
- Learning what their pain points are
- Learning the best ways to relieve those pains
- Learning how to teach the audience how to get pain relief
Presenting helps you learn the audience better by hearing what their questions are, and then adapting the relief and your material to match them. You even learn what jokes work well in the room, and that helps you learn what to write on the page, too.
At the same time, you don’t have to do both well.
Q: What do you do if you are 65, want to keep working, but out of work?
To quote one of my older blog posts:
After you’ve been working for a few years, going to local user group meetings, and survived a few reorgs, you’re going to know a lot of other people working in your same field. You’ll even know people in unrelated fields. DBAs meet project managers, end users, report writers, developers, and so on.
When it’s time for you to start looking for another job, you can put out the word among your contacts. Because they’ve worked with you before and they know what a kick-ass worker you are, they’re likely to vouch for you. They’re likely to tell you about jobs before they go into Phase 1 recruitment, because they’d rather hire you than a stranger. You’re a sure bet, because you’re doing such good work.
At 65, you should have a phenomenal network.
If you don’t, don’t despair: talk to consulting firms. Consulting firms often prize hard-won real-world experience.
Q: Would you rather work for another SQL DBA, or work for someone that doesn’t know anything about SQL?
I want a manager who’s really good at managing me.
I want a manager who’s really good at managing the expectations of other departments, getting us the right budget money, going to bat for us when we need it, and watching us for signs of burnout.
I want a manager who goes to training classes and reads management books to get better at dealing with us meatbags.
You don’t learn any of that stuff working with databases.
Q: My best friend is a DBA and when he offered to mentor me I went online to learn about SQL Server. The first site I found was yours and the sense of community hooked me. Thank you very much for helping me get a successful career that I enjoy. I blame you for this on dark days.
I think that’s the most valuable service I can provide: to be a firestarter to empower other people to build the kind of community I want to participate in.
I remember being an outcast in private middle school, and that sucked pretty bad. It’s a lot more fun being part of something. Over the years, I learned that even outcasts can be a part of something – if they bond together in a group. That’s kinda what we’re doing here in the SQL Server DBA community, I think!
To learn more, watch the 500-Level Guide to Career Internals (video), and join me at the PASS Summit.