I had this whole blog post planned for the day, I was going to talk about what happens after a conference, how do you start making changes, and was really curious on how many people are suffering what I call the Conference Hangover. What is the Conference Hangover? Well it is that feeling that one gets when they learn about all the cool stuff that they want to implement back at the shop after visiting a conference. There is the couple days where you look at your systems and can really see how many features you can use, but then reality sets in. There is too much work to do, your week away has put you even more behind then where you started, so on and so forth. If you stick to it, you should be able to implement everything you want to.
So I was sitting here at my desk and thinking about some changes that I would like to make when I got a twitter, and then an email. Now I know how to answer when someone asks me why I enjoy to speak, teach and blog. So if you would grant me the opportunity today to just sit back and enjoy the fact that I helped someone I will try to get back on track next week. Here is what I received:
“I have worked for the same company for 12 years. I started out in application support and remained in that role for 10 years. Over those 10 years I worked with Novell, Microsoft, Citrix, IIS, SAN’s, MSSQL, etc. As the economy started getting worse I started thinking about my career and how I knew a lot about many technologies but it was hard to become an expert in any of them. The opportunity came up for me to join our DBA team and become a full time DBA about 2 1/2 years ago. Shortly after joining the DBA team we had a lot of turnover within our IT division. Several directors left including the CTO, my department has seen 12 dba’s come and go over the past two years. Of course with the economy getting bad and working for a financial company would could easily get concerned. Over the years I have had lots of people tell me I could get a job anywhere with my skill set. Being told that is comforting but “could I really”? I had not interviewed in over 12 years. So here I am listening to a 24 Hours of PASS session when this guy (SQLSHAW) starts talking about warning signs of a company, things like pay raise freezes, layoffs, cutting expenses, posting quarterly losses and I start wondering if he is talking to me directly as this is describing my company. Then a few sentences later he starts talking about the average tenure of a DBA is 18 months and that personally he feels that if you have been in the same job for 2 years and are not out interviewing then you are doing yourself an injustice. The speaker was not advocating job hopping but mearly keeping up the skillset of the interview process. Technology changes frequently and by interviewing regularly you get to keep up on the questions being asked and how to interview better. I started thinking about this, 2 years, I haven’t interviewed in 12 years. It is almost 2011 and my resume is still on a Word 95 template. Hearing all this on the 24HOP session really got me thinking, I could not stop rehashing this session in my head. Soon after hearing this session I was at a SQL Saturday and sat through Andy Warren’s building a professional development plan session, this reiterated, where do I want to be in 5 years, or 10 for that matter. What am I doing to better myself right now. What am I afraid of. Well my fear was 1) If I submitted my resume could I get a call for an interview, 2) Going through the interview process, would I bomb it, 3) Could I get a job offer.
Being in IT I get cold calls from recruiters often. A couple of weeks back I get a call from a company back in my home town (2 hours away) asking If I would consider relocating back. This made me think, this could be my chance to get over my fears so I said yes. I was instructed to apply online on their website for them to review my resume. That meant I had to update mine, well basically create one. It took a couple of days and then I submitted it online. Two days later I get a call from HR setting up an interview. The next day I get an email with my agenda, I will be interviewed by 4 different people and it will take 2 hours. OMG. I schedule a day off work and drive up for the interview. Things went really well, I was very nervous by the way. The 2 hours turned into 5 1/2. I was pretty much told then that I would have a job offer. Two days later I get the official offer. Now bear in mind that I am not unhappy at my current job, actually I love it and would never consider leaving, my fear is the economy and the financial sector. My fear is the “what ifs”. I needed to prepare myself for the unknown. The job offer was for a great deal more than I currently make so that kind of changed things for me. I approached my boss and explained the reasoning for going on the job interview and asked if there was anything the company could do to get me more in line of what “others” think I am worth, sadly this was on a Friday before I was leaving for the PASS Summit. That Monday I get a call from upper management giving me a 20% bump in pay. I am not promoting that everyone go out and try to find another job to exploit your current employer to get more money and that was not my intention with my employer, but I have to agree with SQLSHAW in saying that you need to be prepared. I have grown and learned so much over the past two months with working on my professional development plan and that I encourage everyone to do. Everyone should know what they are worth and everyone should be prepared in the event they get a pink slip.”
End result here is that as a speaker we don’t always see how we impact people, we hope to hear that we are doing a good job and that we are helping people, but when it comes down to it, there is nothing like getting an email like this, months after an event such as the 24 Hours of Pass. So I would like to wrap up today in asking you to do me a favor. If there has been a speaker, a teacher, or even a peer that has helped you along the way, take some time today and send them a note. Let them know that you appreciate what they did, and that it made an impact on you.