12 Days of SQL, On the 6th Day of SQL…

He's a little bit country... (and is relegated to the back of the tree)


Joe Webb (blog|twitter) gave to us, some ideas to make us less impetuous.    

I went non-technical…

My selection for the FreeCon 12 Days of SQL Series comes to us from one of those individuals I admire greatly.  He’s not only a prime technical consultant and successful small business owner, but a quality blogger, friend, leader, and from what I can gather one of the best fathers I’ve met.  Joe served on the Professional Association for SQL Server Board of Directors for six years, volunteers for various educational and charitable organizations, and is an established author, community speaker, and farmer among other things.  He clothes the homeless in blankets made from live kittens and was the only individual in the state of Tennessee to ever successfully use Notification Services in a production environment.   Effectively dealing with individuals from all walks of life is a common thread that runs throughout those accomplishments.  One of the most important traits one can have when it comes to working well with others is the topic of the post he produced back on September 17th of this year:  Listening.    

Yes, I felt it worthy to recommend a very non-technical post for my day out of the 12.  We can know every minutia on the technical side of our respective professions.  However, if you can’t properly communicate with those whom you interact with on a daily basis you’re not going to go very far in life.  I’ve taken to heart what was in this post and have since used it for resolving issues in the office, at conferences, on this site, and at home.  I doubt Powershell is going to help you deal with a pre-adolescent son or a teenage daughter.  In an odd twist of fate, I was scheduled for a four hour Customer Service Training Seminar at work because I lost a bet.  During the meeting I had the presenter load the post from Joe that you’re about to read.  I then faked a phone call from a customer and left the room for the next 3 hours.   

All characters are fictional and don’t represent anyone I know living, dead, or undead…

It’s a base characteristic of those in our profession to want to jump right into solving a problem at first blush.  The following fake conversation happened just the other day right on the other side of my fictional cubicle:   

CUSTOMER:  “I have this application that is running slo-”   

JUNIOR DBA: “Let me take a look at it.  I’ve got some ideas.  I’m pretty sure it’s related to cursors that are fragmenting your primary key index.  Implementing trace flag 8675309 should solve that!” <pause> <wheeze> <pause> “Or it could be because the developer did a select-star against the heap table and forgot to including a query hint to use partitioned results.”  <GASP> “Or it could be the network.  Or Java.  Or a sticky Esc key!  DO YOU HAVE A STICKY ESC KEY?!?”   

CUSTOMER: “Um, thanks.”   

Before the user, client, or co-worker can get past the introductory sentence into whatever brought them to us, we frequently either jump into the fray like some hyper-caffeinated spawn of Wonder Woman and Dr. Sheldon Cooper – or fight the urge immediately dispense some T!SQL (Pronounced Thumpass Sequel)!  What Joe professes is that doing so does not solve any problems, nor does it make doing so any easier.   By being a better Listener, you become a better Problem-Solver.  Until you have a more complete understanding of the issues at hand you can’t – and should not begin to – solve anything.   

Without further interruption then I bring you Joe Webb

 as he discusses how to provide better answers by being a better listener…  

What about the 7th day of SQL?

Tomorrow the series continues over on the blog home to a dear friend whom I first met as one of my students on our first SQL Cruise (Info|Photos) this past Summer.  Yanni Robel (blog|twitter) is the Database Administrator for AllRecipes.com– meaning she’s caught right now in the midst of a very busy time for her company between a rock (Thanksgiving) and a hard place (Christmas).  So far it appears that her servers are holding up – a fine testimonial to the expertise she brings to her company and to this discussion.  UPDATE:  Yanni’s post is available here.