Since announcing the topic last week for T-SQL Tuesday, I have thought about many different possibilities for my post. All of them would have been really good examples. The problem has not been the quality but in the end just settling on my wager for this hand.
You see, this month T-SQL Tuesday has the theme of risks, betting on a technology, solution or person, or flatly having had an opportunity and not taken it (that’s a bet too in a sense). Sometimes we have to play it safe, and sometimes we have to take some degree of risk.
If you are interested, the invite for T-SQL Tuesday is here and the deadline for submission is not until Midnight GMT on 12 February.
When all the dice finally settled, I decided it would be best for me to talk about some recent experiences in this Past Post.
First a little dribble with the back story. Just don’t lose your focus on the price with this PK*. Readers, please don’t Press and be patient during this monologue.
Over the past year I have been pushing hard with work and SQL. I was working for a firm as a part of their remote DBA services offering. As time progressed and I became more and more tenured with the firm, I found that I was working harder and harder. Not that the work was hard, but that there was a lot of it.
Stress rose higher and higher (I must have been oblivious to it). At one point I started getting frequent migraines. I went to the doctor to try and figure things out. I visited the chiropractor to try and figure things out. The chiropractor proved to be useful and had some profound advice. He asked me how many hours I would sit in front of the computer on a daily basis (since that was my job). My reply to him shocked him pretty good. I was putting in regular 20 hour days.
Having weekly chiropractor sessions helped somewhat with the migraines but it was not nearly enough. I figured I would just have to deal with it since we couldn’t figure out what the root cause was (yeah we were trying to perf tune this DBA).
In addition to the chiropractor and traditional medicine to fight migraines, I also tried some homeopathic remedies. Again, similar results. It seemed to help but wasn’t an overall solution and not a consistent solution.
Later in the year I found something that seemed to help a little with the migraines too. I started using Gunnars. Sitting in front of a computer for 20 hours a day on most days, it made sense there might be some eye strain. Wearing the Gunnars, I immediately felt less eye strain. That was awesome. Too bad it did not reduce the migraines.
After more than a year of having regular migraines, I found that the migraines started occurring more regularly (yes there was a baseline). Near the end of 2013, I found that there was a period that I had eight straight migraine days. These migraines typically lasted the duration of the day and there wasn’t much I could do outside of just dealing with it and making sure work got done.
Notice the risk? What are all of the risks that might be involved at this point? Yes, I was risking my health, family and work.
Near the end of the year 2013, I made a very risky decision. I decided to part ways with the firm and pursue a consulting career. This was as scary as could possibly be. I was choosing to leave a “Safe” job knowing that I had a job and secured income – so long as the company did well.
Not only was I choosing to gamble with the job change and risking whether or not I would have work flowing in to keep me busy, I was also risking the well-being of my family. With a family, there is the added risk of ensuring you provide for them. This was a huge gamble for me. Not to mention the concern with the migraines and whether I would be able to work this day or that based on the frequency and history of these things.
In this case, the bet on Green came up GREEN! Over two months into this decision I have yet to have a migraine. For my health this was the right decision. I have also been lucky enough to be able to get myself into the right consulting opportunity at the right time with the right people. Because of that, we have been able to keep me busy the whole time.
With all of that said, thanks to Randy Knight (@randy_knight) for bringing me in as a Principal Consultant at SQL Solutions Group. With the change to consulting, Randy has helped to keep my hours down to less than 20 hours a day.
The thing about those 20 hour days is there were several people trying to get me to back off. They’d say things like “leave it for tomorrow” or “the work will still be there.” That may be true, but the firms clients had certain expectations. Learning when to back off and keep the foot on the gas pedal is something everybody needs to learn. For me, I felt I had to do it because it was promised to the client. Now as a consultant, I feel I can better control when those deliverables are due. Thanks to Wayne (@DBAWayne) for continuing to point this out as a symptom of “burnout.”
In the end, it took making a risky change to avoid the burnout and get my health back under control.
*PK in this case is a term for a pick ‘em bet and not in reference to a Primary Key as is commonly used in SQL Server.