I was reading a link recommended by Kevin Kline on Getting Results the Agile way. This author talks of thinking in 3s- setting goals and priorities in 3s and watch how you meet them. If I were to think of 3 things i need to do every year to get ahead in life/career – what would they be? Mine are as below -
1 Take a vacation – Seems odd that that is the first thing to say for career growth – but to me it is . I was a die hard workaholic for several years in my life – used to think I carried the place on my shoulders, and worried about every single thing that could go wrong if ‘I’ wasn’t around to fix it. Needless to say that didn’t get me anywhere. I ended up really sick with overwork twice, and once even getting fired because the guy on top didn’t like my work ethics (there was more to it than overwork but that was one of the reasons). But after all that the lesson I have learnt is that time away from work is important. Also to add to that – when one reaches mid age one realizes in a very real way that time is limited. That bucket list of places to see and things to do needs to be looked into atleast one a time…after that realization I make it a point to go somewhere atleast once a year and spend two weeks away from work. Sometimes it is my home country, India, sometimes it is other places.
2 Network – I had a speaker in my user group sometime ago. He used to ask me often if I ‘understood’ how networking worked, since he was a rather introverted person himself. After every talk he gave and every meeting he attended he would ‘count’ how many people he had met and if he had gained anything from them. Needless to say after a few meetings he decided there was nothing to this and gave up. I was of the same mindset as this man for a while, since i am also somewhat of a private person and it is hard for me to be ‘out there’…but I was willing to give it a better shot than he. I started the user group locally and after running it for two years – I was approached by someone who attended my meetings with a great job offer. The next two jobs I have landed have been via people I have met, and mostly via conversations rather than formal interviews and resume applications. Networking takes time and effort, but networking pays huge dividends if one is patient and persistent with it. Networking is something I consider I should do with more focus and more diligence as I grow older.
3 Attend as many trainings as possible – As a production DBA I must admit the time I have to learn on my own is somewhat limited. It would be great, as Brent Ozar said once, if the learning is part of the job itself but most DBAs struggle with a lot of operational work – you don’t do cool jazzy stuff every day, you have to do repetitive things and have to attend to a lot of things outside work hours. So the only way really to keep up with learning is to attend trainings – as many trainings as possible. I am a train-a-holic – be it free trainings or paid trainings (my company is generous with paid trainings) – I am there, opening my ears wide to gain as much knowledge as I can possibly gain.
So..the three priorities defined – I found a place where all three can be accomplished in one shot. The SQL Cruise. I get to see Alaska, a place that I have longed to see since I saw pictures of glaciers in my sixth grade geography textbook. I get to network, with some of the most successful and best people in the SQL world (The BrentOzarPLF team, Allen White, Aaron Bertrand,Kevin Kline….). I get to train with them too. Can’t think of anything better that would fit my needs this year and counting every day down to the cruise.