There aren’t many formal mentoring relationships these days. It seems to be rare when two people enter into an arrangement where one person agrees to give of their time energy and resources to answer questions and assist another person. Oh sure, you do it casually when you give an assignment to someone and say, “Let me know if you need any help.”
However, that’s different from a recent offer made to people in the SQL Server community. Paul Randal is once again offering his time to multiple people, inviting others to engage in discussion about non-technical subjects. To be sure, it is a unique and wonderful opportunity.
Why Look for a Mentor Now?
I have had some career goals over the years. For a very long time I wanted to start a blog. Almost five years ago I finally started this blog. At first, I was posting fairly regularly. Yet, the posts began dropping off and are almost nonexistent. I would like to have a mentor so I could learn a process that works for me, enabling me to post at least once a week.
Another goal I would like to reach is to start presenting. For a very long time I believed the lie that I didn’t know enough to be able to give back. Imposter syndrome was a big scary monster holding me back. I entered into the IT world back in 2008 knowing nothing about that world. I got into it because I happened to be a person who understood an important line of business application at my company. People noticed that, and I eventually began managing that software. I had no IT or Computer Science training. I still don’t have a Computer Science degree.
Recently I began to have access to some really smart people and found that I often handled SQL Server situations in ways that were similar or the same as them. By no means am I on their level, but I found that methodologies, ways of thinking and troubleshooting approaches were often the same. When I saw that, I began to really have confidence that I have something to offer other people. I have been given so much by the SQL Server Community. I want to give back.
Managing a Team/ Launching a Department
My current employer has been around since the 50’s. They never had a database administrator on the pay roll until they hired me in April 2018. In January 2020 I hired another DBA to work with me. I’ve managed people before, but not in technical environments and not another DBA. I am essentially launching a department from scratch. How do I do that? I’m figuring it out, but having someone to bounce ideas of off who is outside the situation could be incredibly beneficial.
For about 5 or 6 years now I have given a lot of thought to opening my own business, starting a consulting company. I have recently watched a 2 hour presentation from Brent Ozar about how he did it and how he recommends other people attempt it. But a two hour presentation at PASS doesn’t cover everything. How do you pick tools to get the thing off the ground? If you’re going to do this with friends, how does that work, or should you just go it alone? When do you incorporate your work into a legal business? How do you turn a side hustle into a real business while avoiding legal entanglements with your employer over “work product?” These are all legitimate questions that I’m still trying to figure out.
So, there you have it. I want a mentor to help me with building a high quality blogging site. I want help with presentation skills, how to launch a department and to help me explore whether I should, or how I could, launch a consulting company. The value of mentoring for me is that I can receive some help so I can get that last nudge I need to start giving back and doing it in a meaningful, consistent way.