Message to Seniors:
Math was always easy for me. I took calculus in high school and enjoyed it very much. However, during my post-graduate degree, I took an accounting class, which was very difficult for me to grasp. The whole double-entry idea was foreign to me and I got frustrated. Here is an example conversation from that course:
Me: “[Classmate Name], I don’t understand, can you help me with problem #2?”
[Classmate Name]: “Oh that problem was easy” or “You should be able to get that” or even “I can’t believe you didn’t get that one”
Again, we go back to good ol’ Nick Burns either talking down to colleagues for the purposes of making ourselves sound or feel better or having unrealistic expectations.
In reference to talking ourselves up, the answer to that is humbleness. Be humble. Even if you are the expert and know every potential option of a feature because you wrote it, be humble. Arrogance is an immediate turn off and a path to working alone. Not to mention there is always someone who knows more than you do (and they are probably younger). If you are having problems with that see Be Excellent to Each Other.
As far as unrealistic expectations go—there is nothing wrong with having high expectations, however I am not going to yell at my 4-year-old daughter for not being able to write this blog post for me. It would be great if she was able to and I would dote on her. That would increase her confidence and excitement to write again. However, if she does not write it, then I am not going to tear her down for not being able to do something that is really outside of her current ability. Of course that does not mean she will not get there one day, but I have to allow her time to grow and learn.
Message to Juniors:
Let’s be honest, one of the best things about the SQL Community is everyone’s willingness to help. I do not see any other community with a specific twitter help hashtag, let alone training on cruises. However, the other side of that is someone can fake a lot by getting all their answers from the community. They can even be seen through social networking as knowing more than they really do. However if you sit down and talk with them, you will quickly start seeing how much they know or do not know.
This can be due to the “fake it till you make it” mentality or just pride. Let me be clear here, there is nothing wrong with ambition or confidence. However when it turns into pride, you are in trouble. Pride means you have stopped learning because you know it all now.
If someone is helping or teaching and the response is often or always:
- I did it that way this time, but I usually do it [insert best practice here].
- I always just write it that way to start and clean it up later
- Yeah I know that
- I used to do that all the time, just haven’t done it in a while
- I was trained on that but didn’t use it right away, so I lost it
- I always create my own scripts from scratch
- Yeah that is what I meant
If you catch yourself saying things like that often, then expect to lose your help soon. They are willing to help and share their knowledge—soak it up, do not reject it. The old adage is true, the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. It is ok to say, “I don’t know”. That is what leads to learning and even mentorship.
Am I a senior or a junior?
The answer is unequivocally, both. So if you only read one section, go read the other . No one knows everything about everything. So maybe you are a senior in SSIS, but a junior in SSRS. Maybe you are an absolute expert in tuning queries but your IO turned to molasses and you are a junior on SANs. In our industry we are always learning as there is a huge amount of depth and even larger amount of breadth, and, oh yeah, things are changing constantly.
Be honest if you don’t know something; give yourself and others the time they need to learn. Pride goes before the fall and humbleness is a virtue.