- Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Interacting with colleagues who have had different experiences and know more about certain topics is the fastest way to grow, both personally and professionally. While it’s nice to be known as a person who can answer almost every question, where’s the challenge (and fun) in that?
- Take vacations, and don’t take your laptop with you. I have taken my laptop on way too many family trips. This doesn’t serve anyone. I’m not fully engaged in my time with my family, I don’t give my full attention to my customers because I’m stressing out about not spending time with my family, and my co-workers are just thinking, “What the heck?” If Jon or Glenn go on vacation, I am more than happy to fill in and do whatever is needed because they need that break. We all do. So stop worrying. You have earned this time. Leave the laptop at home. Turn off your phone. Stop checking Facebook and Twitter. The world will still be there when you return.
- Take the time to mentor others. You didn’t get to this spot on your own, and that new DBA is never going to be able fill in for you when you’re on vacation and want to be completely disconnected (see above). You don’t just have to mentor one person, you can mentor many, in different ways and it doesn’t have to take a significant amount of time. At my previous job, when I worked with anyone in Technical Support I would explain what we were doing, why, and talk them through the process. This took maybe an extra 10 to 15 minutes. If they asked questions, I knew immediately they wanted to learn more and I repeated that process every time I helped them going forward. Eventually, they could troubleshoot basic database issues without me, freeing up my time. At a leadership course I attended the facilitator said, “You should always be trying to work yourself out of your current position.” That means you’re teaching someone how to take over yours.
- Save every script you write. I love writing T-SQL. Sometimes I think I should have been a developer. In the beginning, I didn’t save many scripts, so when a similar problem came up I had to start over. At first I didn’t mind, because I got to write some code and I’d try to remember how I did it last time and how to make it better. Then I didn’t have enough time, and writing that code became a bottleneck. Also: organize your scripts. Everyone has different methods, one of mine is to use the same first word to name scripts with a common task. For example, Check_Baselines.sql, Check_Backups.sql, Create_DB.sql, Create_RG.sql. Find a system, stick with it, start saving.
I’m not tagging anyone in this post by name, but if you’re thinking “I wish she had tagged me” then you’ve just been tagged.