There's a long-running discussion with people tagging each other to post advice for people new to SQL Server, about what they know now and wished they'd known ealier in their lives/careers – lot's of SQL MVPs and other luminaries have been doing it and I've been tagged now by my good friend Ward Pond – here's his entry.
The idea is to give two pieces of advice to help people out. My two came to mind almost instantly.
The first is a tenet I live by – there's no fate but what you make. It's actually a quote from the Terminator 2 movie and it basically means that nothing happens to you unless you make it, and you're responsible for your own life. This applies equally to life and to your career.
If you're not in an optimal place in your life for whatever reason (happiness, job, city, partner), then it's up to you to change it. And you should have the confidence to try. Sometimes you might try and fail, but at least you can say to yourself that you've tried. I've changed jobs, cities, and partners a few times each and (luckily for me) it always worked out. Sometimes the change was hard to make, sometimes it wasn't. But I knew it was up to me if I wanted a change so I had no choice but to make it happen or adapt to the current situation.
For your career, and this is where I'm touching on SQL Server, there are some situations that you may get into that are entirely of your own creation. Someone breaks into your server because you didn't check security. The company goes under because the sales database was lost and you didn't provision backups. You get a bonus because you tuned the indexing strategy so performance could handle the big sales weekend. Whatever. I believe that everything that happens to you is from your own making (apart from 'random' things like car accidents). You may say that something happened in your job that you had no control over – but you took that job… It's an interesting way to look at life, but that's what I know now.
The second thing is purely about SQL Server. If you're a DBA, some day in your career you will encounter database corruption and you will be responsible for clearing it up. Don't stick your head in the sand and fool yourself that it won't happen to you. It will. Be prepared. Take backups. Check your backups. Come up with an HA strategy. Practice restoring. And so on. I've been involved in hundreds, maybe more than a thousand, of corruption cases while at Microsoft and beyond. The over-riding take-away for me from that (ongoing) experience? People are unprepared and don't know what to do. That's what I know now.
I hope these are helpful and I've fulfilled my obligation.
PS Kimberly was tagged – her post is here.