Four Things We Wish We Knew

A couple weeks ago I posted 4 Attitudes I Wish I Had When I Started – it was 4 pieces of advice I’d love to give to my old self that I’ve either learned the hard way or am still learning. I also asked others to contribute. I specifically tagged a couple people and they tagged some others. I am going from the pingbacks and comments for this round up so it is possible that I missed a post and if I did – please just let me know and I’ll make sure to add it to this post. Or send an update if I miss more than a few.

There is also a great book that a lot of folks in the SQL family  including myself contributed to. It’s an ebook and it’s a free download.  Check it out. It’s called “DBA Jumpstart”. John Sansom put this book together and it is a tremendous resource.

Without any more intro. And in no specific order here are the links to the others who gave some great advice.


Kathi Kallenberger shared some great advice. Including not dwelling on unfair criticism. I like all of her advice, but that one resonated with me and I enjoyed the way she described it. I’m glad she’s teamed up with us at Linchpin People. Her advice is great here.

Tim Costello shared a bunch of great ones also. I especially liked the truth that Speed Kills and we need more sleep. Great stuff. Easy read – with a picture for each point, too.

Chris Yates nailed it with tips like the one I zoomed in on most – our need to be flexible. He includes a link to an earlier article on communication where he talks about flexibility. All of his points are worth the read for sure.

John Sterrett – another Linchpin colleague shares some great advice. I LOVE “You are not alone” – we aren’t. If you are working with SQL Server – you have joined a pretty amazing family and community. And everyone (mostly) is here to help. Go read this and his other points!

Brent Ozar showed me up with his brevity. 🙂 And not only his brevity – but he even shared that as one of his tips! “Keep it short and sweet” amen – I took some advice from him there straight away. His other three points are tremendous and you can read them all in about 3.5 minutes.

Erin Stellato quickly responded to the tag with some perfect advice. I really like the piece about surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you. Always be learning, always absorb knowledge from those around you and we all rise together. Go read her points!

Steve Jones gave a bunch of advice in two posts. The link on his name is to the shorter of his two posts. This one goes to more advice. All of his advice hit me hard and was good stuff.  “We’re not saving babies” is the one that hit me the most. You don’t even need all the text to understand where he is going – and so many forget that. He’s not saying slack off.. Go look at his posts and see what he means.

Adam Saxton continued the trend of advice that I could learn from. All of his points taught me something and made me look at myself but his admonition to be consistent is the one I need the most work on, I think.

Stuart Ainsworth is a little paranoid 😉 But that’s okay. His advice is spot on. Read it. This DBA life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. I’m a bit afraid that he’s a teammate over at Linchpin People now, with this paranoia problem he has and all 😉

Brian Kelley reminds us of a lot of good pieces of advice. Perhaps remember who the boss is is my favorite, but I also really liked his reminder that people skills are important. I say more important and his advice leaves room for that interpretation.  Brian is a good friend and I enjoy having him around in e-mail at Linchpin. He is always quick to offer advice steeped in wisdom. This post is no different.

Reeves Smith hit it out of the park with the inclusion of “Admit when you do not know something” – go read it for all of his points, but spend a little more time here on this one. I still needed to read it slowly and need to make sure I don’t get blind there. Spot on advice, Reeves.  I’ve been getting to know Reeves lately through his being involved with Linchpin People. Actually never discovered his blog until this series I’ll be watching it now, though.

Tim Mitchell nailed it with “Failure is a part of growth” And having a next set of goals. And well – just go read his post. I love all of his advice here. Tim’s been a friend for a bit but as I watch him interact with clients I see he believes in all of these principles and tries to live them out.

Tim Radney convicted me with the idea that we should be pacing ourselves. Although that’s kind of funny to hear from Tim. He’s a busy full time rock star employee for his company, a partner helping grow the WellDBA practice at Linchpin People, building a tilapia breeding pond, a play pond for his kids and always doing something with a hammer.

Lori Edwards – a friend and an employee of my favorite monitoring tool – shared some great advice. One of the pieces of advice sounds a little self promotional – but she is spot on. Whether you spend money on a tool or not – set up alerts and be proactive (I just blogged about being proactive over at Pinal’s site – but Lori hit the mark in less words).

Also a few great tips came in on the comments on the original post on my blog:

G. Andrew Duthie shares:

Couldn’t agree more regarding email. If there’s one thing I wish I learned earlier, it’s how horrible email is for communicating difficult stuff, particularly when it comes to conflict. Sometimes conflict is necessary, but email is possibly the worst way to communicate it.


Rich gave some EXCELLENT advice (bolded in his quote by me)

I was lucky enough years ago to work for a relentless, driving entrepreneur who, upon hiring me, told me “Learn the business.”

This was completely outside of anything technology-related, but it made everything I did as a DBA so much more relevant and useful to the staff and systems I supported.

I knew I’d nailed this when there came a day that I jumped into a complicated, intense conversation between 2 managers and was able to explain the business logic of what they thought was a software problem (but was actually a correct outcome of their misunderstanding of business process).

Another Mike reminded us to be assertive:

You also need to learn how to be assertive. I remember learning how being assertive is being respectful of both yourself and the other party. I dealt with this yesterday with a customer. Their task was the most important thing to them, but there were bigger items in play than their task. I worked on it for awhile, and then told them I needed to fix the other things first. They weren’t happy and threatened to go to their manager. I told them to go ahead and I would work on their problem, but the other ones needed to be completed first. Of course it helps if you’re confident as well, but then this starts to get complicated. (I did fix their problem about a hour later…) :)



I hope I got all the advice posts out there. Loved reading them all. Thanks everyone for sharing!!





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