I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and there are really two different questions here: 1) Why do I want to be mentored, or, more specifically, what do I hope to gain from this? and 2) Out of all the qualified applicants, why should Paul Randal choose me?
The first question is easier, so I’ll tackle that one first.
Why do I want Paul Randal to mentor me?
Because Kimberly Tripp didn’t offer.
I’ve never had a mentor. I’ve never even had a very good career adviser. I’ve substituted a lot of research, deliberation, and sometimes angst trying to decide where and how to focus my efforts. I try to learn from my mistakes, so I’ve done pretty well for myself despite a lot of wrong turns and bumps in the road.
But I’m at a turning point in my career, and I could really benefit from some good advice from someone with more experience and a wider viewpoint. I started my SQL career as an Accidental DBA at an internet startup that had outgrown Standard Edition. After a few years, I switched to a medium-sized retail organization with a strong quality of life focus. In both cases, I’ve been the authority in my environment (and completely indebted to the Google community). I’ve studied my butt off, joined the local PASS chapter, and I’ve reached a point where I’m confident that I’m a capable DBA, I’m sure that I’m in a career field that I love, but I’ve got a lot of questions about where to go from here.
Do I need to start consulting or switch to a different job to experience new SQL issues? Should I just keep reading and studying to gain more theoretical knowledge? What SQL-related skills or other technologies could I best leverage in my current environment? Will blogging, and hopefully, the concurrent change in my approach to my job be enough to keep me engaged for a couple years? I know that no one else can tell me the path that’s right for me, but I think the road could be quite a bit easier with good directions. I’ve gotten lost a lot less since I got GPS, so I can only imagine what good career advice can do for me!
Before this opportunity presented itself, I set New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 to join Twitter (based on Glenn Berry’s advice) and start blogging (for my own reasons as outlined in my inaugural blog post). I already knew that it’s time for me to start giving back. I’m just not really sure how best to do that.
Why should Paul Randal want to mentor me?
This one is nearly impossible to answer. I’m certain that there are many intelligent and talented people who have applied for this opportunity–it’s sort of crazy for someone like me not to at least take a shot at it.
The best answer that I’ve come up with is that I began my career by studying to become an English professor. I taught writing to college students for four years and studied literature for nine. It was long enough to learn that I hadn’t chosen the best career for me, but it did set me up with fairly strong writing and teaching skills. Because I have those, I think I can become a strong contributor in the SQL community.
And, because I don’t think it can hurt, here are a few other things to consider:
- I can stand on my head for a full two minutes.
- I’m quite good at recommending wine pairings for food.
- I’ve adopted and grown to love Molly, who is quite possibly the worst dog ever. Seriously, she’s the anti-Lassie: she’d push Timmy in the well.
- I’m a good person. I recycle. I mow my lawn. I even stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
- I can recognize that I need to stop this bullet list at this point because it’s not trending well.
I would love a little help.
And I’ll do my best to pay it forward.