Category Archives: Training
Jeffrey Verheul (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. (Hey Jeff, what’s up?) If you are not familiar with T-SQL Tuesday, well it was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) five years ago and invites a different blogger to host a topic and various bloggers choose to participate when the subject so moves them. This month’s topic is regarding SQL Family and Community. I have blogged numerous times about SQL Family and if you never experienced the awesomeness that is SQL Family in person, find me and I will give you a #SQLHug and show you just how awesome of a phenomenon this truly is.
Personally, I have been gainfully employed in the IT field for almost twenty years and have been hacking (yes that is the correct term not the one bastardized by the media and laymen) since the Christmas of 1982 when I got a Timex Sinclair 1000. During this lifetime, I have never experienced the phenomenon that is SQL Family, ever. Let the weight of that statement sink in for a moment. In other words, having met all sorts of IT professionals over the years at many conferences, user groups and meetings, no one community has struck me dumbfounded and with wonderment like that of the SQL Community. It is unparalleled in my opinion.
(Ed please get to the point and stop skipping the light fandango)
In The Beginning
Several years ago, I was severely burnt out. I had started back to college to possibly change careers. (yeah it was that bad) I hated what I did for a living. I cannot stress how much I hated what I was doing for a living. At that point, my good friend and fellow DBA Brent Kraus (t) invited me to a user group meeting with the Tampa SQL User Group. “Free pizza,” he said and we could meet a couple of guys and get a better job. I said how do you know and he said “hey Jorge Segarra (b|t) sat in that same chair and got out of dodge and now he is a SQL rock star now making it rain with groupies to boot.” The story may not have gone exactly that way, but hey it’s called dramatic license for a reason. If the day Buddy Holly died was the day that the music died, then this was the day that the music was reborn like a phoenix rising out of the ashes that was my career. (This story is getting good…even I want to pay attention now and trust me I was bored with it up until this section)
The meeting was horrible, there was a speaker on a speaker phone. I do not remember who it was or what he spoke about but it was pretty bad mainly because of bad phone connection and a language barrier. I met a few people and I remember thinking “this blows!” Then Pam Shaw (b|t) gave me a free book for a being a first time attendee. Remember, I had a bad attitude about my career so this reflection had nothing to do with Pam or her user group. I remember on the drive home thinking hey free pizza and a free book (and don’t forget the SQL tchotchkes), maybe I will go back next month.
Enter Brent again…as he said hey they do this crazy, free training thing and you get to meet a lot of SQL people and we are sure to find a better job there. So we ride over one Saturday morning to Orlando. I liken this to the moment I heard my first Beatles record. I was hooked, an addiction was formed. I met so many people and I could name drop all day but there is one key figure that I met that day….Karla Landrum (b|t). She was welcoming and passionate about the community. Karla is definitely the mother of this SQL family. Actually she is more of a foster-mother, she takes in the strays feeds them some good food, acclimates them to the environment and then challenges them to succeed. Like any good Mom, she doesn’t take no for an answer. Within a year from that moment she had talked (coerced, dragged me kicking and screaming, or tricked? You pick!) me into speaking for the first time. I had a supreme fear of public speaking. How did she talk me into this? I wanted to run like Forrest, but I didn’t even drove through a flash flood that day to not let her down.
During that year, I became active in the user group, became a SQL community promoter on twitter, and attended a few SQL Saturdays. Suddenly I didn’t hate my career as much, oh do not get me wrong the job I had sucked but I was not ready to jump ship on my career just yet. What happened to Brent? Oh yeah, he got a better SQL DBA job. Mission accomplished.
That first time was horrible, I scripted the whole thing and barely looked up from my trembling body. They gave me an award for the funniest presentation. These people are nuts, I do not think they saw the same presentation that I did. Afterward, several people told me how awesome it was and that they were happy to see me presenting. Wait?!?! What?!?!? It was horrible. These people are my brothers and sisters in the SQL Family. They were loving and encouraging when I needed it. I am sure that they knew it was horrible but they had been there too. I am not going to call them out but I do try to pay it forward with every new speaker that I meet or see or even here about. I want to be that same awesome brother that tells you about dating and girls and how to…wait I digress, sorry.
It was at this point that I wanted to speak again, and again. All the world’s a stage and I wanted to get better, to be as good as they were, to teach and give back. I was learning SQL Server like never before because I was teaching it to others. I was now in love with my career again. Not the obligatory kiss your grandmother love, but the super smart, nerdy librarian looking girl who likes you because you aced Calculus passion making out in the reference section next to the map rack. Yeah you know what I am talking about.
All everyone talked about once you get inside the SQL Family is the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle. Like any good addict, I had to try this drug. Have you ever had that moment when you said to yourself “wow these nerds are my people, they get me!” That first year was my moment. Like any good Amway presentation, I wanted what they were selling. I met so many people…authors, bloggers, crazy people (yeah I bet two or three names came to your mind when I said that and yes that is who I was talking about), DBAs, developers, and rock stars of the SQL community. They all had one thing in common: SQL Family. At no point did I ever feel not welcome or like an outsider even with my First Timer badge on. If there was a funny story that they all knew someone was more than willing to bring me up to speed on how that one guy did that one thing that one time and it was epic. Yeah you know who you are and what you did that one time. Dude!
At that first Summit, I met several DBAs from Atlanta. I kept running into them everywhere I went around Seattle. They invited me to sit with them at the Chapter Lunch. I was home. These people were my people. One problem though…I lived in Tampa. (This is a foreshadowing moment, keep that in mind here)
In 2013, I decided that in order to take my career to the next level, I needed to move to Atlanta where the DBA jobs were flowing like wine and after 42 years in Florida a change of scenery would be good. Most people think leaving Florida was a Paradise Lost, but being a tourist is the greatest part of Florida at this point in my life as I grew up on the sunshine, beaches, and Disney. Been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. However, I felt at home with the Atlanta group and they had become really, really good friends over the last couple of years. You see I was 42 years old with hundreds of friends or as I like to call them wonderful acquaintances. You know the kind, the ones that will go to a birthday party for a mutual friend and be happy to see you and hand you a beer from the cooler. But if you need someone to help you move, all of these friends that you have seem to be busy. My life was full of these friends. I had a couple of really good friends, do not get me wrong especially if you are one of them are you thinking to yourself what the hell dude!
However, with the SQL Family, those friendships always seem to be so much stronger. This was the impetus for me moving to Atlanta. Those friends there seemed to be the kind of friends that would help you move (and they did come 2014). Did you remember the foreshadowing moment? Good, you were paying attention. After moving to Atlanta, I began traveling across the country spreading my wings speaking in Nashville, Las Vegas, Louisville and I will hit Birmingham, Orlando (where it all began) and possibly Charleston before the year is done. All of that is on my own dime. Why? SQL Family. I love visiting different family members and spending time with them and sharing my love of SQL Server and SQLKaraoke with them. I look forward to breaking bread and sharing a pint with them sharing stories and dancing like a mad man. The social aspect of SQL Family is unparalleled as well.
I am now a Data Services Consultant, working for a dear friend from the SQL Family. She brought me on board here where there are about a hundred brilliant consultants including several other SQL Family members. I love my career, and I love my SQL Family and now I love my job. Thanks, Julie (b|t).
So after reading this and if you have met me in person, have you figured out which family member I am? I am that crazy uncle that everyone has who sings everywhere and is so much fun to be around (at least in my opinion lol).
Mi familia está loca! (For Jorge)
P.S. Did you get the title reference and all the tie-ins? Tripping the light fantastic means to dance about with the music and being in the SQL Family makes me want to sing and dance every day. Milton (tie-in) and Shakespeare (tie-in) spoke of such phenomenon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles (tie-in) had an album entitled Tripping the Live Fantastic. Tarantino (our greatest living director) used the line as I did in “Inglorious Basterds” for the final tie-in. Those were chosen because of my love of those things and my ability to wax poetic about my passions. Long Live the SQL Family! Oh, I almost forgot the “skipping the light fandango” tie-in (glad I proofread this before submitting it) but that’s a line from “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procul Harum. So now you have my passion for poetry, movies, music and SQL Server, all that in one blog post for the low, low price of $19.95…but wait, there’s more….stay tuned next time.
I am humbled and genuinely excited to be selected to speak for the first time in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014. Since moving to Atlanta, I am trying to spread my speaking engagements out across the country to meet knew people and spread the gospel of SQL Server through the love of #SQLLearning, #SQLHugs, #SQLKaraoke, and #SQLFamily.
I have taken my previously new, “So you have a performance issue. What now?” and transformed it into a two-part session with Mike Lawell (t) covering the full gamut of performance tuning for the beginning DBA or accidental DBA. This is a great series that will dive into how to get started in performance tuning. In other words, how do you find the query that is bad from all of the other queries running in your system and where do you go from there? I hope to see you there!
Have you registered to attend yet? If not please do so immediately and get a free #SQLHug from me!
Wow, I cannot believe that I have not blogged since the beginning of the year. I will follow-up next week with an article about what I have been doing the first half of the year. However, today I wanted to let everyone know that I am humbled to be selected to speak in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, June 21st, 2014. Since moving to Atlanta, I am trying to spread my speaking engagements out across the country to meet knew people and spread the gospel of SQL Server through the love of #SQLLearning, #SQLHugs, #SQLKaraoke, and #SQLFamily.
I will be presenting my newest presentation, “So you have a performance issue. What now?” This is a great beginning session that goes into how you get started in performance tuning. In other words, how do you find the query that is bad from all of the other queries running in your system? I hope to see you there!
Have you registered to attend yet? If not please do so immediately and get a free #SQLHug from me!
Recently, I was humbled to be selected to speak at SQL Saturday Nashville over the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend. I will be presenting “Backup Strategies Are For Losers” at 10:30AM. This will be my first presentation in Nashville, and I am excited to expand my geographic range. In addition, I was excited to see some of the big names coming into town. Don’t believe me? Check out the schedule for yourself.
Do not forget that there are some excellent pre-cons that start on Friday, January 17th by Denny Cherry, who is presenting “SQL Server Performance Tuning and Optimization” and David Klee is presenting “Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs.” Please check those out as soon as you can while space is still available.
If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now! See you there!
For the second consecutive year, I had the privilege of sitting at the blogger’s table during the Professional Association for SQL Server’s Women in Technology luncheon at the annual Summit conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. This luncheon was over a week ago and today is the first chance that I have had to sit down and really put my thoughts together. Therefore, I apologize for the delay.
The theme for this year’s luncheon was “BEYOND STEREOTYPES: Equality, Gender, Neutrality, and Valuing Diversity.” The distinguished panel consisted of Rob Farley, Erin Stellato, Cindy Gross, Kevin Kline and Gail Shaw. The luncheon was moderated by my dear friend Mickey Stuewe. The bloggers present included Jes Borland, Mark Stacey, Karen Lopez, Grant Fritchey, Jen McCown, Jen Stirrup and Laerte Junior. As you can see it was very humbling to be chosen amongst that lineup.
It has become a tradition at the #PASSWIT luncheon for men and women to wear #SQLKilts to support the Women in Technology. Next year, I should be able to wear a kilt, however this year I wore pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month. This luncheon was very moving for me this year and I found myself caught up in the conversations instead of taking notes. However, I did manage to grab some very good quotes outlined below:
Gail Shaw was asked if she had to make an effort to fit in within the technology community to which she replied: “No I don’t because I can’t literally be bothered.”
Cindy Gross later said “Every single person is prejudiced about something…”
Kevin Kline said that stereotypes are the index pages because our brains cannot know intimate details for more than maybe 150 people, for the rest we rely on stereotypes.
Rob Farley said for us to “Stand up and be the person who champions what is right.”
Erin Stellato when asked by a question from the floor about how to make it in the industry with all of the stereotypes working against you said “How am I not going to make it? Push through the stress and win!”
Today I was thinking about the SQL PASS Summit which begins next Tuesday and I just realized that I have yet to announce that I was chosen to speak for the very first time at the Summit. I am so humbled and excited at this opportunity. I cannot begin to thank the program committee, PASS headquarters, and the SQL community enough for everything they have done for me in the past few years. At this point in my career, I truly feel that my career has exploded thanks to my involvement with SQL PASS.
Rob Volk (b|t) and I had this idea to do a humorous session where we play Laurel and Hardy depicting the interactions between junior and senior DBAs. It should be a good time for all. Our session is Wednesday at 3pm, come by and say hi. Enjoy!
This Saturday, I will be presenting “Backup Strategies Are For Losers” at 7:30AM in Orlando. It should be noted that my first ever SQL Saturday that I attended was in Orlando, so I have a special place in my heart for this event. In addition, I have never presented a session this early in the morning so hopefully there is a Starbucks close by to the campus of Seminole State College. Do not forget that there are some excellent pre-cons that start on Wednesday (tomorrow) so please check those out as soon as you can while space is still available.
If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now! See you there!
Wow, I just realized this morning that an entire month has passed since I last blogged. Surprisingly, much has happened yet I could barely find time to blog. That isn’t necessarily true, but it sounds better than I’ve been lazy for the last 30 days.
So let’s do a rundown real quick of the last month. I spoke at the very first SQL Saturday in beautiful Cocoa Beach, Florida and had an amazing time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I completed my dizzying full-time college schedule with resounding success in my first semester back to the glorious University of Florida in pursuit of a Business Administration degree. Last but not least, Rob Volk (b | t) and I were selected to present our Lightning Talk for the PASS Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. That is an extremely humbling and terribly exciting feeling. Our session, titled “DBAs in Toyland: Here’s Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Me Into!” is going to be a lot of fun to present as Rob and I are thoroughly enjoying the process of putting it together. Enjoy!
I am humbled and honored to have been selected to present my “Backup Strategies are for Losers” presentation at the inaugural SQL Saturday for Cocoa Beach, Florida. This is SQL Saturday #231 as well as being the first for the Space Coast SQL Users Group, so please make your way to the chocolate beach on July 27th for a great day of SQL Learning.
You can register here, come on you know you want to hit the beach for the weekend. There is also a group rate code for the Hilton (SQLP), where the event is being held, that expires tomorrow (June 28th). You can reserve your room here. However, I will be staying just down the road at the Courtyard where my wife and I stayed on our wedding night before our honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas. I look forward to seeing you there. Enjoy!
For me I am not sure that I am at that point. I love being a presenter, I love going to the speaker dinners for SQL Saturday events, I love meeting other speakers and talking about presenting, but in all honesty I am not sure that I am in love with presenting. But I am getting there. Presenting still terrifies the hell out of me, but it is a fear that I set out to conquer last year as a goal in my personal development plan.
For a long time, if an activity involved a public speaking component I avoided it like the plague. Seriously. I am not kidding here. I coached Dixie Youth baseball and Pop Warner football and every year I had to give a first practice speech. I would spend a couple of sleepless nights and I would vomit several times before muttering something from my note cards and then quickly move on to begin the practice. The last few years I stopped doing it all together and went around to the parents individually and this worked much better for me. Crisis averted. Problem put back on the shelf for a later date.
After several SQL Saturdays, I started to think that I could do this again. Some time ago, I was a consultant that also provided week-long training courses in addition to programming and DBA work in Progress 4GL RDBMS, but all of the material that I presented was created by a team (similar to a Microsoft training course) of professionals. Whenever I got nervous in those courses, I could always go back into the material as it had notes on the slides. It was fool-proof, and after doing them over and over I was a pro at it. But after not doing this for twelve years, the fear took over again.
After presenting a lightning talk in Pensacola, a couple of user group meetings and a few SQL Saturdays, the fight or flight reflex has lessened and the vomiting is non-existent. I can do this, I am doing this, and I will conquer this. I can proudly say that I brushed the fear back and now think that I am getting better at this. I am starting to love presenting, it has a foothold in the depth of my being. What about you?