Setting mentoring ground rules

One of the things I always recommend in the first newsletter of each year is to try to get a mentor. On the flip side of that is that one of the most rewarding things you can do in your professional life is to *be* a mentor to one or more people. I mentored more than […]

TSQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference

It’s been almost three years since I wrote a T-SQL Tuesday post (shame on me!), but this is one I definitely want to contribute to. It’s hosted by Ewald Cress and is about “the opportunity to give a shout-out to people (well-known or otherwise) who have made a meaningful contribution to your life in the world […]

50 online SQL Server training courses and a free trial

With the publication of our most recent Pluralsight course last month, we now have a whopping 50 online training courses available through Pluralsight, totally more than 150 hours of content. If you’re unable to come to one of our in-person Immersion Events in the US this year, these courses are a great way to learn […]

Monkeys and bananas: stifling innovation in the workplace

The story I wrote for our SQLskills Insider newsletter on Monday last week resonated so well with people that I thought I’d publish it here on my blog too (which I only do rarely). I try to mix things up in the newsletter so it’s not all about SQL Server technical matters; people seem to […]

Mentoring: the Class of 2015

A couple of weeks ago I kicked off a competition of sorts, to find some people to mentor to celebrate the community voting me “Person You’d Most Like to be Mentored By” in the annual Redgate Tribal Awards. If you remember my terms, all someone had to do to be considered is write a blog post […]

Want to be mentored by me?

Every year Redgate hands out a series of Tribal Awards, voted for by the SQL Server community around the world. In the 2013 awards I won the “Most Authoritative Voice” category (I think just because I’m very tall and have a deep voice :-) and in the 2014 awards, announced a few weeks ago, I won the […]

How to answer questions politely and correctly

Back in August I wrote a long post about how to ask questions politely and correctly to address what I see as a growing volume of poorly asked questions by people who often don’t have the common courtesy to be polite and also often come across as feeling entitled to an answer. Based on the responses, and […]

How to ask questions politely and correctly

This post is a much-expanded version of the editorial in my last bi-weekly SQLskills Insider newsletter, including a bunch of the feedback I got. (Also see my corollary post How to answer questions politely and correctly.) Recently I’ve been complaining on Twitter about some of the ridiculous questions I receive over email (I get a bunch of […]

Learning to listen

Fellow MVP Chris Shaw (b | t) wrote a blog post earlier this week on learning from mistakes and tagged me to write a similar post – so here it is. Let me start with a story first. Back in April 1999 I was working for Microsoft on the SQL team as a developer in […]

New online course on communication skills

My latest online training course was published by Pluralsight on Friday: Communications: How to Talk, Write, Present, and Get Ahead! The course is 2.5 hours long and draws on my extensive experience communicating and mentoring people on how to communicate more effectively. It’s aimed at everyone who needs to communicate, no matter which industry they […]

Video recording of PASS session on communication skills available

Last week I presented for the PASS Virtual Chapter on Professional Development about Communication Skills and the whole thing was recorded via LiveMeeting. It's 70 minutes of distilled experience with some stories thrown in. Check it out at Enjoy! PS Many thanks to Mark Caldwell for hosting the meeting!

December 15th PASS online lecture on communications skills

Every so often I do non-SQL blog posts about things and one of the topics that comes up again and again is communication skills. The PASS Professional Development Virtual Chapter invited me to present a lecture for them and so at 10am Pacific Time on Thursday, December 15th I'll be presenting on communication skills. I'll […]

SQLskills community mentoring

Jonathan Kehayias is such a nice guy. After our recent perf tuning Immersion Event in Chicago last month he had an idea for each of us to pick someone who's attended a SQLskills class and offer general mentoring (career, technical, professional development – whatever) to them for a few hours a month for six months. […]

RTFM. No seriously, R.T.F.M. Then ask your question.

There are several reasons why I’ve drastically cut back on the amount of time I spend in the various online SQL Server forums, including: People continuing to argue that the advice given to them is wrong (and I mean arguing even after me giving references suppporting the advice and explaining why my advice is correct) […]

It depends. It really, really does.

This is almost our catch phrase. In every class we teach Kimberly and I always say that the answer to every question about SQL Server *starts* with “It depends” – except one: “should auto-shrink be enabled?” :-) Seriously though, there’s a bit of an unnecessary backlash against the phrase “it depends” and I’d like to clarify […]

Ignorance is not stupidity

You’re ignorant. About lots of things. Yes, you are. Feel offended? We’re all ignorant about lots and lots of things. Last week I wrote a non-technical blog post The Golden Rule – maybe just optional now? about the growing lack of civility in the world at large. That elicited almost 40 responses (thanks!) so I’m going to intersperse […]

The most important consulting skill is… effective communication

I think many people imagine that technical acumen and razor-sharp problem solving skills are the most important skills to be a successful consultant. I would strongly disagree. While these two skills are *absolutely* essential for success, I think they are less important than the ability to effectively communicate with your clients. Effective communication is a […]

Salary survey results – are YOU being paid enough?

   (Used with permission from Following on from the survey I did about what your company is doing for you and vice-versa (see Job security, loyalty, and employee retention: you need to take control), people asked for a salary survey – so I complied a couple of weeks ago (see here for the survey). […]

Anonymous survey: salaries in the SQL Server world

Following my survey on company and employee loyalty, job security, and retention, I think it'll be very useful to the community to do a survey on salary vs experience for the SQL Server world – so here it is! This survey is completely anonymous – there is no way for anyone to know what you voted. […]

Job security, loyalty, and employee retention: you need to take control

  (Used with permission from It's an interesting marketplace for DBAs right now. Depending on who you speak to, and what your view into the DBA world is, a few data points are evident: There's a view that all the good people already have jobs There's a view that it's pretty hard right now […]