October 25, 2011 | SQL Server

A birthday, of sorts…

A year ago today, I made quite easily the best decision of my career, and joined the folks at SQL Sentry. I explained a lot of this process in a blog post last year, "Moving on up… but not to the East Side." I knew then several reasons I thought I was making the right decision; I now know several more. Hoping to not come off as "rubbing it in," here is a brief list:

  • I absolutely love the people I work with, on several levels. They are all professional, dedicated folks with good humor, and have bent over backwards for me from the day I stepped on board. While I definitely made good friends at my old position (where I worked for 13 years), it was often a mixed bag during my time there. Now my co-workers include Greg (@SQLsensei), Steve (@SQL_Steve), Nick (hasn't found twitter yet), Brooke (@macromullet), Scott (@ScottFallen), Peter (@Peter_Shire), Jason (@SQLSaurus), Missy and others – all very likeable people with unique personalities, and I couldn't ask for a better crew.
  • I am held to very high standards in both day-to-day work and finished product. This can be hard at times, but it's forced me to become much better at taking constructive criticism the way it was intended, rather than the way it is often perceived. And it leads to me getting things right, or at least closer to right, earlier in the process.
  • I have been pushed to become a better community member and SQL Server professional. This past year I've spoken more than ever at SQL Saturday events, SQL Bits, user groups, and SQL Rally Orlando; marks the first year I've ever spoken at the PASS Summit; and it will be the first time I submit abstracts to Connections. Who knows, maybe MCM is not that far off, either.
  • I hear lots of sad stories about folks with "real jobs" who have a hard time getting funding and/or time off to attend training. I am lucky in that attending training is part of my job – and while I don't get to attend that many actual sessions, I'm meeting a lot of people, getting valuable networking in, and seeing parts of the world I would never have seen otherwise (I'm currently preparing for a trip to Sweden for SQL Rally Nordic).
  • I am given quite a bit of leeway in the work I do and the directions it takes me. That is not to say that I'm not asked for anything important (I am), or that I sit around twiddling my thumbs (I don't), it just means that I am not micro-managed or expected to account for every minute of every day. In previous jobs this often meant filling time with trivial and annoying tasks, clock-watching, and in the end being far less productive.
  • I work from home, but more out of necessity than anything else. The office is in Huntersville, North Carolina, and our home is in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. I don't want to talk about the piss-poor real estate market in Rhode Island, but there is a reason we haven't moved south. That said, as many of you know, as long as you are diligent and dedicated, working from home definitely has its benefits. For me, by far, the biggest benefit is that I have 10-12 hours of my life back, every single week, that I'm no longer spending on a train or in traffic commuting to Boston.

Are there downsides? Of course; no job is perfect. But in my case, at least, they're trivial in comparison:

  • Since I work from home, I feel a lot less "part of the gang" because I'm not interacting with them directly every day. I also miss some sarcasm occasionally on conference calls, because I can't see Greg's smirk or Nick rolling his eyes. We're working on ways to make that better.
  • I sometimes miss being the "fireman," constantly at the ready to deal with production issues of varied severity. Well, I wouldn't really say I was missing it, Bob, but anyone who has stepped back from a production DBA position into a more predictable role can probably understand what I mean.

It's been a great first year, and I am looking forward to many more. I want to thank Greg Gonzalez (blog) for having faith in me, for putting up with my quirks, and for being a fantastic person to work with.
 

3 comments on this post

    • Greg Gonzalez - October 26, 2011, 6:03 PM

      Thanks Aaron! Glad to hear you are still having fun and not regretting your decision 😉 Likewise, you're an awesome dude in many different ways, and we're lucky to have you as part of the team.
      Congrats for making it through Year One intact, always the hardest I think… here's to many more!
      -greg

    • Jason Hall - October 26, 2011, 7:29 PM

      Congrats on your first anniversary Aaron. You've worked with us so long that it seems like you've really always been a part of the family.
      I'm looking forward to many more good times with you!

    • Milton - October 26, 2011, 7:44 PM

      I believe you have my stapler.

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