A Fond Farewell

If you haven’t guessed from the title, I’m writing this post because I am leaving SQLskills. This Friday, January 14th, is my last day, and I am currently a mess of emotions.  I am leaving on the best terms possible, and it’s because I’m ready to take on a new challenge.

This is my chance to thank my team – let’s be honest, my friends – for the last nine years. But I absolutely hate goodbyes, and there is a lot to be said to each of them that won’t be said publicly. But know this: it’s been an honor to work at SQLskills, and I have had an amazing time with this crew – professionally and personally. For me, there was no better place to learn and grow as a consultant, and as a person. 

There are a lot of things I’ve learned at SQLskills; I’ve likely forgotten more than I can remember at this point, but there are a definite set of tenets I’ve come to realize these past nine years that I thought would be fun to share.  In no particular order…

  • Concise emails are a really good idea (but sometimes really hard to write).
    • Concise posts are good, too…yes I know that this one isn’t.
  • You can “read” people on a stressful Sev 1 call, even when you can’t see their faces; just listen to their voice, and what they say, and what they don’t say.
  • It’s important to know who is on the call, their role, and their stakes in the problem. It prevents you from saying the wrong thing, and can help you understand their motivation. 
  • Sometimes you have to prove that it’s not a SQL Server problem. 
  • Bigger hardware is not always better (aka faster is funnier)
  • It’s ok if customers don’t follow your advice. No, really. 
  • Your team has your back, always.
  • No one knows everything.
  • You know more than you think you do.
  • Someone on the team has either seen the problem, seen a similar problem, or knows where to go to figure out the problem.
  • Before you start troubleshooting, and preferably before you make any assumptions, ask, “What problem are you trying to solve?”

A few other things I picked up along the way, not related to consulting:

  • Taking an afternoon off to hang out with your bosses is never a bad decision (see: afternoon tea with Kimberly in London and cheese curds in Chicago)
  • Time zones are a really good thing when you’re up late working on a customer issue (thank you Paul)
  • Hardware really doesn’t interest me (I’m so glad Glenn cared about it though!)
  • Pour water over your food when you don’t want to overeat (I first saw Joe do this at Cheesecake Factory and was so confused)
  • It’s a gift to work with someone who is ridiculously smart and one of your best friends (see: Jonathan)
  • Getting to travel the world as a result of teaching is a benefit I didn’t realize could come with a job.  The trips to London, Dublin and Sydney were highlights for me and I have some fantastic memories for each city.  The regular trips to Chicago and Seattle to see the team meant good meals, lots of laughs, and time to catch up.

Thank you to Paul and Kimberly for pulling me aside during IE2 back in 2011 and asking if I’d be interested in joining the team. (Yes, that’s really how it happened – Paul will tell you that he has to know someone to consider hiring them.) This has been an extraordinary group to be a part of the past nine years, and I’ve never taken it for granted.

Thank you to Tim for answering every Azure question I threw at him, and providing me with more knowledge about farming and fish (and a bunch of other things) than I realized I needed. 

Thank you to Glenn and Joe, who both moved on a long time ago, but were vitally important to my growth, particularly in the beginning. 

Thank you to Jonathan for, quite simply, everything. Jonathan was assigned as my mentor when I started, and I’m still learning from him today. He is the owner of the crown of rightness, and he makes me laugh even when I’m in a lousy mood. 

To all the customers I worked with over the years, it’s been a privilege to have had your trust, and I hope that I helped move each system and project forward in a positive way. 

And to everyone in the community who attended a class or a session, asked a question, read a blog post, engaged on Twitter or became a friend – I thank you, and I’ll see you soon. 

25 thoughts on “A Fond Farewell

  1. I can’t believe nine years has gone by so quickly! Erin, I want to sincerely thank you for everything you’ve done for SQLskills and you will be sorely missed. I wish you the very best in your new adventure and I know you’re going to rock it!

  2. We WILL have more cheese curds, mor margaritas, and more “afternoon tea” services SOMEWHERE again and again! It’s been such a pleasure Erin. We will miss working with you but still enjoy some of the fun times when we can hook up in remote locations! (Maybe I’ll need to bring my Mom to another game in Cleveland!)

    Hugs and happiness and best wishes on all of your future adventures!

      1. We’ll have to come when CLE is playing the Lakers (or, wherever he his now / then)… oh, shit – different divisions or something (sheesh, I know nothing but do they even play during a regular season)? OMG – I really just don’t know anything about sportball. lol I suppose I should look it up.

        But, you’re right – LeBron is her main love!! I’m pretty sure that’s a requirement. She still talks about that weekend… Lebron playing Miami just after he had left AND CLE playing the Bulls (our “home” team). It could not have been more perfect for her. I doubt anything will ever align quite that well again… especially on her birthday weekend!

        Ha! We will figure SOMETHING out!! I do hope this damn thing is over sooner rather than later.

  3. Oh wow, sad to see you moving on. Excited to see what is next for you.
    Guess Paul can’t use his ‘Erin is the only sane one in the team’ line anymore. Although after 9 years working with them, I doubt that was true anymore anyway!

    Thanks for everything you have brought to SQL Skills and the community…. So far…

    Good luck, not that you need it



  4. Hi Erin,
    Was just working through the recorded IE0 course today that I had recently purchased and I love what you said near the end of the Installation Module training :
    “You will learn something [new] everyday with SQL Server – just a reminder…”

    Also just purchased the Query Store course IEQS and looking forward to learning something new there too!

    Best wishes for your future success in whatever you’re doing and thanks for some great training that I’m going to enjoy (and probably watch several times) over this coming year!

  5. You may be leaving SQLskills physically, but your contributions will last eternally. Congratulations on new adventures! Condolences to whoever must fill your shoes related to Query Store.

  6. I got to work with you before you became such a SQL guru. You were fantastic to work with then. It is great that you have kept up that level of fantastic!

  7. Awesome 9 years and I’m sure the next 9 years will also be awesome. Truly some “extended events”. Good luck but I don’t believe you’ll need it.

    –Jeff Moden

  8. Erin — I’m excited for you starting a new adventure and want to congratulate you on your successes. I also wanted to thank you for this awesome good bye post! What a great thing to leave for your followers and lovers of all things SQL! It blew me away!! I’ve shared it with my entire team and hope they take away as much as I have from your teachings.

    Good luck in all that you do.

    1. Margaret-

      Thank you for the kind words, what you shared was very kind and I appreciate you taking the time to write something. I am still in the SQL space so hopefully our paths will cross at some point!


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A Fond Farewell

If you haven’t guessed from the title, I’m writing this post because I am leaving SQLskills. This Friday, January 14th, is my last day, and


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