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.