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Louis Davidson

Post-PASS Summit Resolutions 2017

Another PASS Summit has passed, and I have had a bit of time to consider what I want to do with the time of the week that "normal" people call "free time." While during November and December, I do my best to actually take some of that, I kind of find the whole thing kind of weird. Watching TV, going to movies, decorating the house for the 4 holidays (starting with Halloween, ending on New Year's), and otherwise just enjoying the time when I am not being explicitly paid to be at my desk for my day job is equal parts awesome, exhilarating, boring, and oddly enough sad.

I think sad is the one that is most interesting to me. Sad because so many people do this ALL of the time. Drag themselves to work, and then just plop down. Not spending time improving themselves, benevolently helping others, or doing anything interesting (and interesting would include just hanging out with your kids/family.) The opposite is true also, in that some people never stop doing something. I find sometimes that I am so involved in this, that, or the other thing that I never just rest and enjoy anything.

This has been a driving factor in considering what I want to focus on this year.

    1. Devalue the MVP Award as one of my motivators - Wow, I had a hard time even saying this aloud. It feels a bit like going to your employer and saying, "you know, keeping my job is not as much my motivator." Yet, sometimes that is the problem with the MVP Award. Even though it isn't a job, the rewards (most of them with no monetary value at all) are pretty awesome, which frankly leads to a big issue: you..never..want..to..lose..it.

    And I am NOT saying I don't want to keep it. I am super proud of my MVP status, and will not "give it up" or stop reporting what I have done to them in hopes of adding layer of award certificates to my tidy little stack.  And realistically, I probably would have accomplished the same things I have done anyhow (blogged, authored and tech edited books, spoken at some user groups/conferences, etc.), but at times, I have looked at my list of accomplishments as a tally to grade myself against what I perceived as the "line to gain", not as what I can do to help more people, including the people I work with. 

      2, Be more value, meaning: learn more, build more, and blog more - I have a 1000 tool ideas in my head, and another 1000 things I want to learn to make the issues that I (and so many people) deal with daily; easier. So in my upcoming year, when I am sitting down to provide #sqlfamily value, my plan is to build and publish tools of useful value. During my work day, I struggle with a lot of stuff. Designing, writing, testing, and (worst of all) supporting software. I need to make more tools to make my day job easier, and share those concepts in my blogs.

      3. Move away from SQLBlog.com - Yeah, another hard one, as I have been with SQLBlog for a very long time, and it is nice to just let someone else do the hosting with very little pressure the amount or type of content I produce. Which, for the most part I am working out a deal to do (though there will be more pressure to do better editing, and more frequent content.) I do plan to host my own blog somewhere, to cover personal schedule along with occasionally opinionated stuff, but my technical work will likely be going on a different group blogging site, which leaves me more time to add value and not futzing around trying to set up software (I am terrible at that! Everyone who asks my opinion on fixing their computer gets my standard answer… Either 1. Rebuild it 2. Buy a new one.)

        4. Somewhat to the first point, get my work-life balance in check - I work too much. At times I don't mind. I make a few extra bucks now and again with my writing, and a bit less over the years with speaking. And I have kept some of my skills state of the art for 20+ years now. Yet, the problem is that I never let myself stop, unless I am on a vacation to Disney World (and even then I will occasionally take time to attend a meeting…I have carried a tablet around EPCOT a few times to attend a few technology conference meetings, in fact, but usually I can turn off my brain there.) When I am anywhere else, I usually fade into doing something SQL related (Like I had intended to just watch the Titans at Steelers from the couch tonight, but after I did some support work, I was at my computer already, so…I need to finish this blog.)

        My other big issue is that I am either obsessed with completing a task, or a major procrastinator. Generally, if there is a real deadline, I will work on something non-stop. I am here writing this because I can't wait too long or the topic will be stale. On the other hand, I referenced the 1000 tool ideas previously, and I have even more half written blogs that I have piddled on for years. There is a proper balance between: "relax today and finish up tomorrow" and "why put off to next week what you can put off until next century."

        Lastly, since early in 2017 I have been going to the gym about an hour a day, and I have no desire to stop this practice at all. So family time first, then gym, proper rest, then #sqlfamily (well, at least most of the time.) 

          5. Either adjust how I deliver sessions or quit - I will write more on this in a later blog, but suffice it to say that even after 16 years of conference speaking, I still have a few major flaws I cannot get around. My last session at the PASS Summit highlighted the issue yet again, and I will blog about that later this year. Part of it is that tend to take a beginner sounding topic (like Row Level Security) and turn it into a slightly over intermediate session that covers more than what a lot of attendees are ready to hear. It is the kind of thing that works when writing for a technical audience, but speaking requires a different sort of person skills than I generally have mastered.

          Honestly, I could just as easily go to the same number of SQL Saturdays and enjoy them even more without the pressure of writing and preparing for sessions (which takes a LOT more time than blogging about the same topic, and reaches a lot fewer people too).

          6. Regularly participate in T-SQL Tuesday - I did write one T-SQL Tuesday post this year, but I don't know why I don't do more. Maybe it is the deadline/procrastination thing. Or maybe I just don't pay enough attention. I know that is the case, I am not on Facebook, and I only check Twitter infrequently.

          7. Keep involved with PASS - Absolutely with the local Chattanooga User Group. I am a big fan of Larry Ortega, and I want to do more to help out with the UG and the SQL Saturday.

          Secondly with the Program Committee if they want me back again next year. I had a great year working on the committee again this year, even if we didn't do any of the abstract review things we had planned.

          I may consider starting a tiny user group in my area, as a compliment to the group in Chattanooga (which is a 40 minute drive from my house), if there are people who can't do the night meeting (or want to meet twice), particularly in Cleveland, TN or further north. I will NOT do anything to detriment of the main Chattanooga group however.

          8. Plan to make easier resolutions for next year - Like really, you know. These are just too much for my brain to handle. That MVP one is really close to be deleted as I finish this post.

          Well, here's to the 2017-2018 PASS year. Next year, I have no idea where I will post my resolutions, but I will definitely still do them, maybe I will just make them a page on my website. I definitely like doing them like this because of two things. One, several people whom I respect liked that I did this. Two, because putting it out there in public reminds you that you have to follow through. If I just wrote them and tacked them on my wall, I would ball it up and hit the waste bin next to my chair in a week or two.

            Published Friday, November 17, 2017 1:37 PM by drsql
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