How I Found an Accountability Partner!
In the Dec 2017 #tsql2sday blog chain, the author asked about learning goals (my response is here). I really loved reading all of the other responses! For me, coming up with goals isn't the hard part, but following through on all of them is. I start strong, and fizzle out...
When reading Doug Purnell's response (here is his post), he specifically mentions wanting to find others to help keep him accountable. I took the quiz he mentioned, and no surprise to me, I am also an Obliger. That gave me a great idea: I wrote Doug an email and asked if he wanted to work together to help each other! I will admit, I was a little nervous about writing a virtual stranger, but it helped that I had read his blog before and had seen his name while in the #sqlskinny twitter group a couple of years ago. When I emailed him, I started out with saying "I know we dont know each other, but...". :) I explained how I had heard his name, but then just asked straight out if he wanted to work with a stranger.
Luckily he said yes! We decided to meet every other week to help keep each other accountable for the goals we have set for the year. On top of that, we also decided to bring in someone once a quarter to help keep us even more accountable too. There are many people in the community who are open to "mentoring" others if they have the time. We chose 4 people, one for each quarter, so that each person is only having to commit to a 1 hour meeting, once. That will help us not only be accountable to each other, but also to someone else. So far, 3 of them have said yes, and I am anxiously awaiting the response from the last.
I wanted to write this blog post because early in my career when I wondered how to find a mentor, I thought there was a way they would find me, or maybe there was a way to sign up somewhere and it was arranged, etc. In reality, many times you just reach out to someone and ask for what you want. In addition to that, you can check out your existing work relationships. In looking back over the last 20 years, I realize I have had some mentors along the way, I just didnt "label" it with that term specifically. In the #tsql2sday blog chain for Nov 2017, the topic was who made a difference in your life/career. I listed 3 people and none of them were someone I have thought of with the term mentor, but it does actually fit.
I have been enjoying having Doug as an accountability partner. I almost didnt get a chance to write and post a blog recently (one of my goals is to blog twice a month), but was very excited to be able to email him when I finally got it done in time! I will make sure to post from time to time as things progress to give an update on how things are working out. Make sure to follow Doug on his blog too: sqlnikon.com
Learning new stuff - quickly and accurately
I think one of the most helpful abilities to being an exceptional DBA is to be able to learn something new, fairly quickly and yet accurately.
I recently received a request to add an assembly to a SQL instance. I knew that functionality was there, it allows more flexibility within SQL, but I havent had any dealings with it yet. I was provided a script that had the hex value of the assembly and code to set the permissions equal to EXTERNAL_ACCESS.
Its going to sound weird, but I am glad that script threw an error because I have learned (and am still researching) much more about this. I learned that there are a lot of posts that provide code on how to set the trustworthy property of the database. Some of those posts point out that isnt the best method and explain why. Then, if you keep looking, there are a few posts which go into depth as to why.
In this case, I am having to work with the App Dev department to get the assembly signed. Since I like being able to feel confident in my responses to the developers, I need to understand more about what is going on than just the quick and easy answer. All this research has taken up part of my day today, and the testing will probably consume most of my tomorrow.
I point this out because earlier in my career, I would have stopped at the easy answer (which has the most posts). Now, though, I am looking to find those fewer posts which explain the why, in depth, so that I learn everything about what is going on, not just do something because its easy. I feel proud of my progression, and sometimes we need to recognize little wins like this. :)
This is just a quick post while SQL is installing. I am spinning up an instance of SQL in order to play around with installing an assembly, the different permission sets associated, and what is appropriate in the different environments (DEV and PROD) since the assembly already exists in one and not in the other. Back to the fun!
My Goals for 2018
When Doug Purnel (blog) and I became accountability partners, we had to define our goals and share them in order to keep each other accountable. I wrote out my goals, but hadnt shared them until now (its March). One of my goals was to find a new job and when I submitted 1 application in January, I didnt expect it to be the job I accepted (and then move out of state and start my new job all within 1 month)!
Now that things have calmed down, I am publishing my goals to everyone. I will update this main post with links to the other blog posts I create as I complete these goals.