“The year was 94, in my trunk is raw, and in the rear view mirror was the mother $%^in’ law. Got two choices y’all pull over the car or bounce on the devil, put the pedal to the floor” – Jay Z 99 Problems
Ok, so the situation I’m going to be talking about isn’t as extreme as Jay’s of being chased by the cops, with a large load of uncut cocaine in my trunk. The year was actually 2010, things had been going well for me in my job, I had just completed a major SQL consolidation project, built out DR and HA where there was none before, and was speaking on a regular basis at SQL Community events. A strange thing happened though—I got turned down to go to PASS Summit (in retrospect, I should have just paid out of pocket,) and I wasn’t happy about. All of the resources in the firm were being sucked into the forthcoming SAP project. So, back when I thought staying with a company for a long time was a very good thing (here’s a major career hint—focus on your best interest first, because the company will focus on its best interest ahead of yours), I decided to apply for the role of Infrastructure Lead for the SAP project. I’ve blogged about this in great detail here, so if you want to read the gory details you can, but I’ll summarize below.
The project was a nightmare—my manager was quite possibly mental, the CIO was an idiot who had no idea how to set a technical direction, and as an Infrastructure team we were terribly under-resourced. The only cool part, was due to the poor planning of the CIO and my manager, the servers ended up in Switzerland, so I got to spend about a month there, and work with some really good dedicated folks there. I was working 60-70 hours a week, gaining weight and was just generally unhappy with life. I had a couple of speaking engagements that quarter the biggest of which was SQL Rally in Orlando—I caught up with friends (thank you Karen, Kevin, and Jen) and started talking about career prospects. I realized how what I was doing was useless, and wasn’t going to move my career forward in any meaningful sense. So I started applying for jobs, and I ended up in a great position.
I’ve since left that role, and am consulting for a great company now, but almost every day I look back fondly at the all the experiences I got to have in that job (the day after I met my boss, he offered to pay my travel to PASS Summit 2011) and how much it improved my technical skills and gave me tons of confidence to face any system.
The moral of this story, is to think about your life ahead of your firms. The job market is great for data pros—if you are unhappy, leave. Seriously—I had 5 recruiters contact me today.