Today's post was prompted by SQL On Ice. He proposed that we take this week's TSQL Tuesday to show our appreciation of people who have helped us. I've said it before, in my recap for SQL Cruise, that one of the best things about working with SQL Server is the community. There's no way I'd be where I am today without it.
When I first started attending user groups and SQL Saturdays, I felt like the "stupid" person in the class. But, as it turned out, there is no such thing as a dumb question. Everyone, even the most senior people, were willing to take the time and answer questions and share stories. In fact, their passion for the product and the community was infectious. It piqued my curiosity even more and I sought to enhance my skill set on my own.
Of all the amazing SQL conferences around the world, there was one that I always wanted to go to, and that was SQL Cruise (now known as TechOutBound). I was lucky enough to be able to attend this year (and, yes, I paid my own way!).
I could say great things about everyone and every interaction in that class, but two people in particular ended up taking time to give me some very helpful career advice.
Andy Yun: Andy works for SentryOne. A great company with some amazing products. Upon seeing his presentation, I was really impressed with how he carried himself. During one of our end of day "office hours" we were talking shop, and I asked if he had any advice for someone looking to present for the first time. He proceeded to give me pointers on how to choose a topic and how to prepare. He also pointed out how it would help me learn, even though I would be the teacher. He even followed up with me a month later and just asked if I need anything. It was great to know he was so easy to get a hold of.
How timely that my friend was in New York City this week while on vacation! He and his lovely wife took time on their last day to have lunch with me before they took off to the airport. He gave me some great advice regarding the current project I'm working on, about which conferences/SQL Saturdays I should travel for, and also about the inner workings of running a local SQL Server User Group.
I hope my relationship with Andy and SentryOne continues to grow as I am a big fan of their products and feel that so many of my clients would benefit from what they have to offer.
Kate, Me and Andy after enjoying some fine Cuban cuisine!
Grant Fritchey: Grant is quite well known the SQL Community. He currently works for Red Gate, another great company with amazing, and dare I say essential tools for anything SQL related and he's also a member of the PASS Board of Directors as the Executive Vice President. And of course, he's an author of some great books (especially his SQL Server Query Performance Tuning which I refer to quite often). He's been doing this a long time and has a hell of a background. We seem to hit it off right away.
During one of our group dinners, we were seated next to one another. I asked him the same question I asked Andy, what advice if any would you give to a noob presenter. And without hesitation he just said "go for it". Then proceeded to give more specifics on how to choose a topic, and how to prepare for an hour long presentation.
Everyone was not only technical, but very approachable. I felt completely comfortable asking questions. Both Andy and Grant set an example of how one should conduct themselves, and it's something I often reflect upon when working with new clients.
So in addition to all of the technical knowledge that I consumed during this trip, I received invaluable advice on how to jump out of my comfort zone and ultimately grow my skillset, and my business.
At no point was there any pretentious-ness. And that says a lot considering I was in the company of some of the best in the business.
Cheers to you guys!