Career Best Practices?

Posted: September 8, 2010 in SQLServerPedia Syndication

This week I ran into an issue where a team member was not able to be at work. The more and more that I looked at it I realized that I am in the mountains every weekend. Then it hit me, if they can’t reach me who will cover what I do. I am the only DBA on the team and well the end result is I could leave them in a real jam if I was sick or if I was out of town like I will be a lot of this fall. I wanted to take this time and remind you that there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

  • Many people believe that if they are the only one who know how to do the tasks that they do that it insures them they will not be fired, they will always be treated well and they will be appreciated. Make sure that you cross train people what you do, eventually companies look at why systems are redundant and people are not. If you hold that knowledge close to your chest that is going to anger many and chances are you may get help that could turn into your replacement. I have seen this before.
  • Document what you do, people should be able to pick up a document and know what you do and how you do it. At least the basic functions. If you know that you get error xxxx often make sure you document the steps that you take to avoid the company waiting on you to come back to fix a problem, that they may believe you should have fixed a long time ago.
  • Keep your passwords in a secured file that management knows how to get in, why do I pick management, because everyone will lose the instructions on how to get to the file, but managers tend to keep emails around a long time.
  • Learn as many of the common problems the company has and learn how to fix them, I am thinking about thinks outside your job, what if you could work on the phone system or the firewalls when those people are gone. This will improve your resume and show that you truly a team player.
  • Treat everyone with respect. They were hired for a reason and everyone can find a way to assist the team. It may be your job to manage or assist, but it’s not your job to insult or try to hold back those you don’t like.
  • If you are leaving a job and they extend you a counter offer chances are that will be the last one. He company or the managers will know that you are the person who they felt strong armed them in to staying at your job. Who do you think will be the top of the list when a company has to do a layoff and one of the team members was going to leave but then decided to stay after a counter offer?
  • Think twice and be sure that you keep your tongue about other that work in your office. I use to work with this guy and all he did was complain to me about everyone else in the company, apparently they were idols all around us in this office. Someone who is so lose with what they say may just be talking and sharing anything you say. Image that Bob and Jim Gossip office politics all the time. Bob is always telling Jim about this or about that. One day Jim is having a really bad day and tells Bob how much a Jerk someone is. Can you relieve believe Bob is going to keep this to himself.

The key here is we are all adults, and short of singing karaoke at a SQL Saturday party we should act like one. Pull up your big boy pants or big girl pants and get along with everyone. A very wise man once taught me “If someone can’t take your place and do your job then how to do expect to get promoted, go on vacation, or just have the evening to yourself. Work is not the place to play the keeper of knowledge and you won’t let anyone in. Please tell me what your career best practices are I would love to add them to the list.

  1. Jack Corbett says:

    Love this post Chris. My least favorite people to work with are the ones in your first 2 bullet points. There is nothing worse than someone who hoards knowledge. It harms them and the company. Sharing your knowledge and documenting what you do and why are the things that demonstrate your value to the company.

  2. Nice job Chris.

    Met a few “Key Masters” in my day, they keep things locked down to ensure job security. Basically it’s a hands-off my domain mentality, so no one gets cross-trained. Not too friendly to the business areas either.

    Sadly, if this type of person gets “hit by a bus” the company might as well close up shop.

  3. WIDBA says:

    Completely agree on cross training and documentation, etc. The counter offer is sort of a misnomer I think. In times like this, some companies are paying considerably lower than they should be, when the good talent gets hired away for lots more money and the company realizes what they might lose, they counter. I am not sure employees that are valued that much would be on the chopping block at layoff time. Why counter if they are not valuable? Especially if the employee approach was, I like working here, but X company is offering considerably more money for the same work and I can send my kids to Harvard now 🙂

    • Chris Shaw says:

      Thanks for the comment WIDBA,

      I can see where you are coming from, and not sure I disagree with it. I can tell you that if the company sees that an employee is that valuable should they not be paying them accordingly before the employee makes an effort to leave.

      Good point and I can see where you are coming from.


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