I’m a SQL Server Blogger – how could a week of Thanksgiving posts go by without at least one about this thing that is the SQL Server Community? To recap – I’m doing a series of posts this week on things I’m thankful for – one each weekday. This has looked like:

  • Perspective – Why looking back at past challenges can make current ones seem, well, not that big.
  • Relationships – I am where I am in large part because of the people who have put time into my life. Relationships matter.
  • Self Employment – I made the decision to try it this year, and I’m glad I did. I think you can make that same decision.
  • Community – To quote a mall or theme park map, “You are here”
  • Grace – I touched on this in the relationships section but I’m going to talk a bit more about grace and perhaps Pass Prayers on Friday.

This Thing We Call “Community”

Or, as Thomas LaRock put it – #sqlfamily

I’ve blogged about the SQL Server community before a couple of times (“Community, Community, Community” comes to mind first) but I still think it’s a mighty neat group of technologists. I am not even sure how it came to be this way and I’d love to study the family tree someday to figure out why this community is different than some other technology communities. To clarify when I talk about the SQL Server community, I’m talking mainly about the folks who actively blog, read blogs, tweet, speak at or attend events, answer questions on SQL Server Central, actively vote in the SQL PASS elections, etc.

So what is there to be thankful for about this community? Well in no particular order, let me count the ways – I’m thankful that…

We don’t always agree but we just about always get along.

To me the classical examples are the things we aren’t supposed to talk about in public. Faith. Politics. Dynamic SQL vs. Stored Procedures (Stored Procedures, btw) Surrogate Keys vs. Natural Keys, etc.

There have been many a sidetracked twitter conversation that escalated into a multiple person conversation with folks on very different sides. We’ve talked about heated points. There have been animated discussions over political policies and the direction a nation should go. Tough discussions/debates on principles of faith. Yet.. Yet.. It seems like anytime I see (or take part in) one of those discussions, everyone ends up knowing each other a bit better, finding points of agreement and even making new friendships with people whose views completely clash with your own. I’ve seen families torn apart by these divisions yet we find unity in our differences. That doesn’t mean I am endorsing views I disagree with – it means I see that a human being holds them and I want to learn about myself and my world through their views or why they came to them. That is a common attitude. I am thankful that we all can just get along.

The “leaders” seem to pour themselves into other people.

Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward? Well it’s almost like that kid was person one in the SQL Server community. With rare exception, take a look at the people with the “must visit” blogs or “must read” books. Take a look at the long time SQL Server MVPs, the sought after speakers, etc. They almost all share a trait that you don’t always see everywhere – They can’t help but help bring others up. Everyone who is active in this community of technologists seems to want to see others grow. Even the well experienced and much desired consultants at the top of their game seem only happy to give referrals to other consultants. They seem happy to give tips to others. They all realize there are a lot of potential customers and rather than get stingy and hoard knowledge, they share it and hope others do well. That’s different. Everyone learns something every day if they stay active in the SQL Server Community. SQL Saturday leaders have to say no to speakers because so many people want to learn by teaching. We are a community of learners and teachers.

We take time to get to know each other.

Meaningful relationships. When there is a SQL Server event (conference, SQL Saturday, etc.) I always bump into at least one person (and usually a lot more) that I know fairly well. Someone who wants to know how I’m really doing. Someone I care about and want to know more. Plenty of razzing and joking to go around but when someone is stuck… When someone is down on their luck… When someone needs a job… When someone needs prayer… When a family member dies… The community rallies around that person. The only real superiority contest I ever see is who can outgive or outcare someone else. That’s different than any other technology community I’ve been a part of.

 We could fix this country.

Seriously. Some of those political twitter conversations I mentioned? We talk about hard issues. We come at them from different points of view but through our logical and rational thought processes, we usually end up exploring the heart of the matter. We end up finding the points that unite us and let go of partisan bickering or allegiances. We talk about some interesting real solutions together. You fire Congress (all of them) and replace them with members of the SQL Server community and I think this nation is a bit closer to solving those issues that plague us perennially. Common sense wins. Logic wins. Doing what’s right for all wins.

We love new members of the SQLFamily.

No jealousy. No frustration with someone learning. We welcome people just starting out and put on big events for them at our Summits, we go out of our way to find the “new ones” and ask “how’s this summit treating you? Are you learning everything you wanted to learn? Have you met  so and so yet?” I was just chatting about this with Brent Ozar the other day and he drew a parallel to High School. I think it works…. If the SQL Server community were a High School or Middle School – there would be less traumatic memories for some… If the SQL Server community were a lot of workplaces, new employees would be more productive. Again – the folks in this community pour themselves into others and want to see new folks learn as much as possible and they love helping them out there.

 

So yeah, I’m thankful for this SQL Server community I fell into when I got deeper into SQL Server. I have some friendships that will last well beyond my time working with any one technology. I’ve seen projects touch lives (Like the Deep Dives books, Project Phoenix, etc.) and I’ve seen resources put together to get stuff done. This SQL Server community is pretty amazing.

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