If you had a chance to change your fate, would you? – Princess Merida
For many years I worked as a full time employee (FTE) at many places. The majority of DBAs I have met state that they became a DBA by “accident”. They worked as something else and had to eventually take over the roles of a DBA due to one leaving or the project requiring someone learning the skills of a DBA. I spent my time working through the ranks from data entry, middle-ware configuration, custom development and finally all the way to my personal goal of SQL DBA. When I started in data entry and dabbled a little directly in database work I felt it was my fate to become a SQL DBA. It took a long time to get there with a lot of learning experiences along the way.
One of the main reasons that it took so long was that I was never really allowed to attend training and SQL events while being a FTE. I would watch developers and others in the companies go off to convention after convention. They took training classes & got certifications, all at company expense. Yet for some reason I was excluded from that. Perhaps it was due to my self-learning of SQL. Maybe it was from working a variety of issues through and coming up with solid solutions. There was obviously no reason for me to need to go to these things, I appeared to have that knowledge and skill set and was able to implement them on a consistent basis. I became more important to the company when I was sitting in my office/cube/hallway and getting the things done and keeping it all running. (Yes, I was actually seated at a desk in the middle of a hallway once.) I even tried to use the personal time off allocated to me to go to events and when it was discovered that I was going, the time off requests would be denied, even for free events. It was as if I was being pigeon holed into a specific role, and expected to be complacent and satisfied with the opportunity I had.
If you know me at all, you know that doesn’t sit well with me.
Princess Merida: I want my freedom!
Queen Elinor: But are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost?
I reached a point that I had to get out of the places that were holding me down. I had reached the ceiling of what I could do at my employer at the time, and ventured out to a new job. Still as a FTE, but with a consulting firm. I’d be able to switch out jobs and keep learning that way. It was good and my knowledge increased almost immediately. I was taken under the wing of the manager at the client and told to start working on my soft skills. I started attending Toast Masters and Dale Carnegie courses and worked more on fine tuning the soft skills that I already knew I had. This only served to make them stronger. There was still one issue though. I was actually paying my own way for these various courses and training. Not only monetarily, but in personal time too since I was not able to do any of it during the work day. I was finally in a learning environment, and learning lots. The main lesson I took from that experience was that I was ultimately responsible for myself and where I took my career. Not someone else, not some company or client. Me.
Princess Merida: I am Merida, and I’ll be shooting for my own hand.
I stood tall one day and bellowed: I am Chrrrreees and Ay’ll be working fer me own Fate!!
OK, not really, but I could have. That is when I took the leap and went on contract and started WaterOx Consulting. There was a lot of thought, pressure, over analysis of everything to make sure it was the right choice. Truth be told I don’t know if it is. Currently things are good, very good in fact. My future and fate are still being written but this time I am in control.
Over the last year a lot has changed and continues to change for me, my business and my family. It is exciting and scary and truly does test just how brave I am. I encourage you to think about what you are doing, where you are now and who or what is controlling your fate.
Who knows, you may be the next one to stand up and be Brave.
King Fergus: The ancients spoke of it. It is the heart of this fierce land. It is carried in the wind. Born of our legends and when we are put to the test, it is the one thing that we must always be.