Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reviewing My 2010 Goals

You can go over my goals here.  I’ve really hesitated to do this post because, in my opinion, I did so poorly.  Here’s what I did:


  1. Write 1 article per quarter for SQLServerCentral. – Fail.  I don’t think I wrote one article this year.  Sorry, Steve.
  2. Submit 1 video per quarter to SQLShare  - Fail.  I think I did one last January.  Sorry, Andy.
  3. Grow OPASS from 15-20 attendees to 25+ per meeting – Fail.  We tried several new things including Live Meeting and meeting monthly instead of every other month, but we never really got any traction for growth.  With some new help, Karla and Rodney Landrum, in town we’ll be trying again this year.  There will be a blog post coming about OPASS changes for 2011.
  4. Speak at 4 events this year (user groups, SQLSaturday’s, PASS Summit?)SUCCESS. I spoke at SQLSaturday #32 – Tampa, SQLSaturday #41 – Atlanta, Seacost SQL Server Users Group on June 8th, SQL Server Society of Las Vegas on July 8th (Remote), SQLSaturday #40 – South Florida, Space Coast User Group on September 9th, SQLSaturday #52 – Colorado, and SQLSaturday #49 – Orlando.  I definitely made that goal with room to spare.  I really enjoy speaking and eventually would like to make it up to a national conference like the PASS Summit.
  5. Present for 1 PASS Virtual ChapterSUCCESS. I presented for the DBA Virtual Chapter in July.

Professional Development

  1. 2 blog posts per week with at least 3 scheduled. - Close.  I had 98 posts in 2010 (not counting this one).  I did really well until November, although I never got a consistent set of 3 scheduled.  Most of the year I had none scheduled.
  2. Read 2 technical and 2 professional development books. -   SUCCESS.  I read the MVP Deep Dives book and MCTS Self-Pace Training Kit (Exam 70-432): Microsoft SQL Server 2008-Implementation and Maintenance.  For Professional Development I read: Tribes, Crunch Time: 8 Steps to Making the Right Life Decisions at the Right Times, and Visioneering.
  3. Get MCITP: Database Administrator 2008.  - SUCCESS.  I passed both tests on the first try with good scores.  You can see my thoughts on this process here and here.

Technical (Can I skip this one?)

  1. Develop an application (C# or PowerShell) to automate testing of backups. – Fail. I never even worked on this one.  I’d still like to do it, but can’t seem to get a test environment setup at home. 
  2. Learn how to and do a page restore. - Fail. Haven’t had to do it in real life and probably never will, so little motivation
  3. Develop an application (C#) that uses SQL Compact Edition for offline access and uses SQL Azure for storage. – Fail. I actually started this one, but couldn’t find good documentation on how to sync an existing compact database to Azure.  I’d still like to do this one.


  1. Lose 25 lbs. – Fail.  I hadn’t done anything until I ended up in the hospital with a heart scare (false alarm) just before Thanksgiving.  Since then I’ve made lifestyle changes and lost 15+ lbs and I’d like to lost about another 15.
  2. Play my bass guitar 10 minutes a day to finish the book my wife got for me. – Fail.  Did well on and off on this one.  I definitely see improvement when I do this, but life gets in the way too easily.
  3. Study my Bible every day. - Fail.  I definitely did better than ever before, but I didn’t even read my Bible every day, much less study it.  I did do some study every week.

Not a great year for meeting my goals.  No excuses, I didn’t get it done this year.  Here’s hoping for a more productive 2011, at least as far as goals go.

Monday, December 13, 2010

PASS SQLRally Call For Speakers Update

Well, we have 3 days left in the PASS SQLRally Call for speakers and we are doing well.  We have over 70 completed submissions, there may be more in a “saved” state, with a great mix of topics across the three main tracks of Development, DBA, and Business Intelligence. 

One area where we currently have a limited number of submissions is in our Professional Development category.  Our goal is to have 3 professional development sessions (one a deep dive) so we’d like to have double-digit submissions in this track, so that the community will have nice group of sessions to choose from.

With our goal of having 48 unique speakers, we are still looking for more submissions across all tracks and for all levels of ability, from 100 level to 400 level topics.

So, have you submitted yet?  If not, what's holding you back?  Here’s a post by Brent Ozar that talks about how community involvement helped propel his career forward: Rock Stars, Normal People, and You.

(Note - if you have submitted you might want to double check that your abstracts are in a "submitted" state; we've noticed some abstracts are in a "saved" state which means they're still considered a work in progress)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Week Left in the PASS SQLRally Call For Speakers

There is only one week left to submit your abstract for the PASS SQLRally.  This is a great opportunity for you to take your career to the next level!  You've likely spoken at user groups, SQLSaturday's, and Code Camps to groups of 20 to 50, but now you get an opportunity to speak to a group of over 100! The next step from here is the PASS Summit!

I know, you are probably like me, where you think that you don't know enough to speak at this level. Well, we are both wrong! If you are knowledgeable enough to speak at smaller events you are knowledgeable enough to teach someone something at SQLRally. SQL Server is such a large product that no one can know it all, so we all have people who know more than us and people that know less, help those that know less by sharing your knowledge. You don't need to be an MVP or be a Microsoft Certified Master, you just need passion and desire to share your knowledge. There's no better way to become an expert at something than to teach it to others. Here's your chance, submit your session(s) today! Give the community the opportunity to vote for you!

Not sure how to write an abstract? See Andy Warren's post, SQLRally Call for Speakers Closes December 15, 2010 for some tips and visit the PASS Speaker Resource Page.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Worn Out and Maybe Burned Out

Ever feel worn out and/or burned out?  Don’t worry you aren’t alone.  As a matter of fact most people have this happen to them and I have it happening right now.  I even started a this thread on SQLServerCentral to get some advice about it.  This is why my blogging has been limited recently, I just don’t want to be on my computer once I get home from work.  I’ve basically been just keeping up with email via my phone. 

So what started it?

Really, I can’t point to one thing that started it, but I can say that between some bad lifestyle choices and a confluence of life events probably led to it. 

First the bad lifestyle choices:

  1. Bad diet.  I was munching on junk food all the time, particularly at night, the worst time to do that.
  2. No exercise.  I used to at least play basketball on a regular basis, but I let that fall off and never replaced it with anything.
  3. Not enough sleep.  I wasn’t doing anything, but I wasn’t sleeping well either.

Now the life events:

  1. Potential work change.  I don’t know if I’m mentioned this before, but my current position at New Tribes Mission is a 4 year commitment that ends at the end of June 2011.  I know it seems far away but my wife and I believe we need to make a decision by the end of January so both NTM and we can make the necessary plans.  You can read more about this on our ministry blog here & here.  This could also lead to a change in fields.  I still enjoy working with SQL Server and doing development work, but not like I used to when I‘d dream in code.
  2. Alice’s Dad, my father-in-law, being diagnosed and having surgery for stomach cancer, subsequently entering a nursing home, and being told he is terminal.  You can follow this here.
  3. Our middle child, Evan (9), breaking his left arm at school, a “nasty” break according to the orthopedic surgeon.  He required a plate and 6 screws.
  4. Semi-crunch time on the never ending project at the office.

All this led to my ending up in the ER the Sunday before Thanksgiving because I had chest pains.  I ended up spending the night in the hospital for observation.  Praise the Lord, I hadn’t had a heart attack, but I am dealing with some kind of digestive issue still to be determined and high cholesterol. 

So how do I get out of it?

Well, oddly enough I started coming out of it the week before I ended up in the hospital.  I spoke with my boss about the potential work change and started walking before work and at lunch.  Of course, being in the hospital tends to send you back into a funk.  Added to that I found out my father has cancer in the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck…

Here’s what I’m trying to help me get re-motivated and help me avoid it in the future:

  1. Exercise.  I had started before I went to the hospital and it was helping, now with high cholesterol I need to do it even more.  Still keeping at a walk until I finish some follow-up doctor visits, but it IS making a difference in my energy level and ability to focus.
  2. Diet.  Again this is partly due to medical issues, but I’m on a low fat diet and eating more fruits and vegetables.  I’m hungry a lot because of reduced portions and not as much snacking, but it is helping as well.
  3. Sleep.   Getting enough rest is definitely important for anyone to function at an optimal level.  The amount of sleep each person needs will vary, but if you are struggling every day, it is probably time to get some rest.
  4. Priorities.  Just getting one thing accomplished each day is a motivator.  I need to do a better job of setting tasks so I can check something off each day.
  5. Friends.  Just getting advice on the thread I started on SSC and talking with friends and family has made a big difference.  Talking about problems is hard, but it is necessary.
  6. Perspective.  In the grand scheme of things my life is pretty good.  I have a job where I can take a week off to help care for my children without issues, who else can say that?  See my What I’m Thankful For post for other things.
  7. Faith.  This is part of who I am and really does help me get through some tough times.  Knowing that God has a plan helps me to relax and not worry. 

What about you?  Have you been there?  What have you done to overcome it?