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My Greatest Weakness?

Around The Blogosphere

I was enjoying being an audience to the “greatest weakness” posts going around in the latest meme. This time it was started by David Stein who blogs (quite regularly) over at Made2Mentor.com in his post, “What is your biggest weakness? – The Classic Interview Question”.

As I said, I was enjoying reading the posts. That changed this morning when I saw Grant Fritchey, the Scary DBA, post his version of the answer. His answers were great but.. I got tagged and reading some of his hit too close to home for this DBA. So please feel free to reach out to Grant on twitter, he goes by @Gfritchey, and smack him around a couple times for me. Pardon the interruption to the post series on blogging tips. Didn’t have a good time slot in the calendar for this to go other than, right now.

Prioritizing This List Is Tough!

I have a lot of weaknesses. You can ask my wife, my coworkers, my family, my peers or my God (well don’t ask Him.. He knows the ones I won’t share with you ๐Ÿ™‚ ). So picking the worst one is a bit of an exercise in closing my eyes andย  throwing a dart. I’m bound to pick one (or hurt someone, which is actually one of the weaknesses at times).

In my usual rambling blogging style of semi-structured thoughts, I’ll list out a few in bullets below and expand on them as I go and see where that winds up.

In no order of priority or “greatness” here are some that come to mind:

Just promise you’ll still hire me after reading this or I’ll have to put a noindex hint in the meta tags.

  • E-Mails – The other day I told a colleague, “l’ll just send them an e-mail” and he jokingly replied, “You mean a Missile? ” Yeah… It’s true. I expect more out of colleagues than I should (somewhere bordering perfection… Which is funny because I make a huge share of my own mistakes), get frustrated easily and am way to blunt and direct in e-mail at times. If that isn’t bad enough, I have a sarcastic streak in the e-mails at times. Now in my defense, I add a lot of my own blend of self-deprecating, “If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at?” style to it but it’s still not appropriate. If I got off my chair or put the missile launcher (BlackBerry) away and have a conversation? Much better results. I was really reminded of this when I wrote about the lesson I learned at the dump that I blogged about recently in, “One Man’s Trash…”
    • Resolution Plan? I have been doing more face to face meetings with folks. Giving “just the facts m’am” e-mails with the only sarcasm/humor being totally aimed at myself (if at all). I am looking at the picture from multiple angles and re-reading my longer emails before sending.
  • Expectations – Not everyone is at the same level as each other anywhere. Not every developer knows just what standards I want to see. I get frustrated when someone is put into a position without the right skills or competencies. Sometimes I let that come across as frustration with that person. They are just doing their job. Maybe they shouldn’t be doing the project they were doing but that is the decision of hiring managers and project managers and it is what it is.
    • Resolution Plan? Rather than let it get the best of me I am documenting what I expect and want in “production ready” code. I have asked to put on several “tech forums” via live meeting to the company (we are a global company in the day job with developers on two continents and multiple states). This way, I can teach what I want to see around topics like security (Role Based, Group Based and Least Privilege), performance (Easy on the disks, easy on duration of locks/transactions,etc.) and configuration best practices, etc. I will provide documents, present the material take questions and then point folks to the recordings. Sure I’ll still help people (I love helping people, it just gets frustrating when the avalanche of Production DBA work is deep and the questions dont’ stop all day long ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but this will allow folks to better see what I am hoping to see.
  • Assumptions – As bad as I am at sending e-mails, I should understand that the attitude conveyed in an e-mail is often not the right one. Even still, I read too much into written, impersonal communication. I get offended too easily sometimes.
    • Resolution Plan? “Hey, I just got your e-mail and was confused. What did you mean by such and such” in person, said in a friendly manner.. Or “hey let’s go grab a bite to eat and talk about that deployment plan.

Alright. That’s good. I know there are more but this is a good quick hit list. Know anymore? Throw ’em in the comments anonymously (I won’t peak at your IP Address ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) tell me in person next time you see me.

Tag – You Are It

I know this meme has been going around for a bit now but why not tag a few people I admire, respect and look up to. Plus I’ll tag Andy Kelly ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously though, I have a lot of respect for these folks and am curious what they have to say:

  • Andy Kelly – My first DBA job manager way back when. He blogs over at SQLBlog and is on twitter as @GunneyK.
  • Kevin Kline – Everyone knows who he is. He blogs at in a few places but you can get him on his own domain, KevinEKline.com and is on twitter as @KevinEKline
  • K. Brian Kelley – I’ve been getting to know Brian more through the web, twitter as @KBrianKelley and e-mails. I have a lot of respect for where he is as a man, a father, a husband and a Christian and have a lot to learn from his character. I really want to hear his thoughts here. He blogs at SQLServerCentral.

What about you? If I didn’t tag you, go ahead and post anyway we can all learn from each other. Either write up a post and let me know about it or leave a comment describing your biggest weakness or how you might deal with the ones I’ve listed.

Mike Walsh
Article by Mike Walsh
Mike loves mentoring clients on the right Systems or High Availability architectures because he enjoys those lightbulb moments and loves watching the right design and setup come together for a client. He started Straight Path in 2010 when he decided that after over a decade working with SQL Server in various roles, it was time to try and take his experience, passion, and knowledge to help clients of all shapes and sizes. Mike is a husband, father to four great children, and a Christian. Heโ€™s a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in his small town in New Hampshire, and when he isnโ€™t playing with his family, solving SQL Server issues, or talking shop, it seems like he has plenty to do with his family running a small farm in NH raising Beef Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Honeybees and who knows what other animals have been added!

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6 thoughts on “My Greatest Weakness?”

  1. As I was reading through my post after publishing I discovered a new one – I use emoticons far, far too often. Is that a function of being an introverted teenager at the birth of Instant Messaging?

  2. Wow, far too many of these hit close to home for me. Are you hanging around my cube?

    As far as the emoticons go… no beer for you.

  3. When you told your story to someone after the user group meeting the other day of how you got your nickname, I was thinking the same about myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Though perhaps the words would be more choice than “scary”.. Must. Resist. Urge. (for an emoticon)..

    I think I use them as a defense. I am naturally sarcastic and a good rule of thumb is if I said something that sounds wrong or insulting it was said in a joking tone. The emoticons help explain that, I guess? Maybe it will be more fun to not use them and make people guess.

  4. Pingback: Grant Fritchey

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