“You guys hear that? Post your end of year/decade wrap ups with the #2k10WrapUp hashtag. Share your milestones, accomplishments and struggles.”
I don’t usually obsess over setting beginning-of-the-year goals, because life can provide events that require shifting such goals, even long-term ones, quite quickly. For example, I didn’t intend to still be living in Chicago today. I told my family that I’d return to Indiana sometime between 2003 and 2008. As the end of 2008 approached, I did a serious trial run of living on my family farm. I lived and worked there for over two months in two to three-week chunks. In the end, I discovered that I wasn’t the same person who had once looked forward to returning to country life.
So with that, 2009 became a year of “what now?” Since 2005, I had been doing remote consulting/contracting work so that I’d be able to eventually move to my family farm in the middle of nowhere. Now that I had discovered I wasn’t ready to leave the city, it was time reassess things. One of my clients had been telling me that, while my technical work was necessary, they also needed my leadership and business skills in the office. Since this client was a firm that provides data management and business intelligence services, I decided that every day there should provide opportunities to grow my skills in my areas of interest. Of course, you need to know how to exploit opportunities, so I needed to get to know other data professionals. Thus, 2009 was the year that I appeared on twitter and began attending my local PASS user group meetings. With this, of course, I gained the knowledge to set goals for 2010.
The year 2010 for me was mostly about the SQL Server community. My work responsibilities these days are mostly management-related, but it’s crucial that I don’t let my technical skills slip. I have every intention of returning to primarily doing development (or similar) work someday. Most weeks I’m able to do some developer/DBA work, so that helps, but I need something more to keep me advancing forward.
So how did I do in 2010? In no particular order, here’s my assessment:
- FAILED: Attend every local PASS chapter meeting. Okay, it’s a partial failure. I missed one meeting because I was out of town for SQL Saturday #49 in Orlando. Other than that one meeting, I hit them all, and got to know a great group of people in my neighborhood.
- DELIVERED: Attend PASS Summit 2010. After following the 2009 Summit on twitter, there was no way I could miss this event again.
- DELIVERED: Start volunteering. At the SQL Saturday #31 welcome and keynote session, Brent Ozar (Blog|Twitter) called out for six people to go to the back of the room and provide their names on a volunteer list. I was so hungry for involvement that I jumped up and ran from the front row to the back of the room to sign up. This year I worked a registration desk at the Orlando SQL Saturday, and (I still can’t believe I got to do this) emceed a Lightning Talk session at the PASS Summit. All I can say loud and clear is that I want more volunteer duties in 2011!
- DELIVERED: Attend SQL Server events other than local PASS chapter meetings and the Summit. Fine, I’m hedging here by not quantifying with numbers, etc. But consider that in 2009, I attended no events other than two or three local PASS chapter meetings. What about 2010? In addition to local PASS meetings and the Summit, three SQL Saturdays (Chicago, South Florida, Orlando), IndyTechFest (Indianapolis), and SQLCruise.
- DELIVERED: Start blogging. I had hoped to get out at least one post a week and didn’t hit that. I did get out multiple posts per month once I started, including participating in the last four T-SQL Tuesday events.
- FAILED: Submit to speak at an event. Out and out failure here. I’m pushing this one forward to 2011 and not giving up on it. I’m also not going to put the blame somewhere else other than on myself. However (yes, I’m going to slide down the slippery “however” slope of excuses) something unanticipated did develop at work a few months ago. I can’t mention it yet, but it’s impacting what I’m able to do (e.g. I had planned to go on next year’s SQLCruise to Alaska until this thing came up). It’s added work for me that won’t go away for another six to nine months. If things don’t look like they’ll get under control after that, I’ll be making some changes.
That last item sets up the idea of 2011 plans. The big thing is to continue improving my management skills. Even though I didn’t plan to become a manager, I still have to do a good job at it. Otherwise, the folks reporting to me will have lousy experiences, those in other parts of the company will not be sufficiently served, the CEO (my boss) won’t be getting all he needs from us, etc. Also, if I’m not effective, I’m wasting my time. That means less time for all the community activities that I enjoy and that expand my skills.
For 2011, I hope for more of the same from 2010. More SQL Saturdays. More blogging. More volunteering. Attend every local PASS chapter meeting and the 2011 Summit. Submit to speak at an event. Also, I haven’t given up on the 2011 Miami SQLCruise yet since it doesn’t require as many days away from the office as the Alaska one.
Attending more events is tricky for me. First, I pay for everything myself, but that’s not the big constraint… I have to use vacation days for events, and there are only so many of those. That’s something to figure out for a future year; in the mean time I have plenty to do.
Let me end by shouting out a big Thank You to everyone in the SQL Server community! If it’s not evident enough, you all played a big role in my successful 2010. I’m looking forward to all we’ll do in 2011 and continuing to share our accomplishments with each other.