I remember a facebook post from a musician I enjoy listening to named Gentry , although I cannot locate the exact quote it was something like “Traktor DJ for IOS is now free, no more excuses for suck ipod dj sets.” After I was done ROTFL, I continued on with my life (after downloading the app of course). Something about that quote stuck with me and while I was doing my normal routine of researching and learning, I started thinking to myself, as Technology Professionals, we really have no excuse for not constantly improving our skill sets.
You can do a quick google image search for “whats your excuse” you’ll see tons of what should be motivational pictures. Little tink tink, Mother’s with hard bodies, Athletes with no arms…and memes of Darth Vader. Regardless of what you find, the message is the same…people everywhere are able to find the motivation and means to accomplish amazing things. As a DBA, no one is asking you to be an olympic track runner or champion body builder…they are asking that you keep your skills and knowledge updated so that you can provide a continual benefit to the business. If you are a DBA and you are not able to keep up your skills, what’s your excuse?
It’s too expensive – This one gets you smacked upside the head…hard. There are so many free resources on the Internet that you couldn’t possibly have exhausted them all. I don’t believe that you have read every article or watched every video on SQL Server Central, not to mention the ENTIRE INTERNET. Professionals like Brent Ozar, Paul Randall, and Grant Fritchey all offer free advice, hell Ozar Unlimited offers FREE weekly webinars! Aside from the free resources, you really should get your finances in order and create a budget for training material. Maybe a book every three months? My wife and I decided that it was best for her to home school our son, so we are a single income family. We have to go over our personal finances weekly to make sure we are on target, and we review them monthly to see if they can be optimized. I can understand how hard things can be on a tight budget, but maybe you can cancel out trips to the bar, eating out a couple times, or buying snacks at the gas station? You can also look into tax write offs that are available for educational and training purposes. So now I ask again…what’s your excuse?
When I’m off work, I don’t like to think about work – Why? When I’m reading a book on Filestream this weekend (a FREE book from Red Gate btw), yes it is because of a task assigned at work, but it’s also self improvement and viewed as something that will help advance my career. I take this assignment as a way for me to better myself. Instead of writing music this weekend, I will read the book and work through the examples. I do have a Superbowl party to attend, but I’ll just have to figure out something. Perhaps at the bottom of it all, I love my job, and my employers treat me very well. Because of how well they treat me, I enjoy learning new things so that I can better contribute to the business which really is a second home for me (you spend 8+ hours at the office, you really need to make a home where you work). If you really love what you do, and you are grateful to the people that pay your rent…why would you not think about them off the clock? One more time…what’s your excuse?
Personally, I believe that if you love something, finding time, resources and motivation to go that extra mile is not hard. Life is too short and we should all strive to enjoy every moment of it, so wouldn’t it be a great idea to find a career that motivates you enough to continuously optimize?