Lately I’ve seen several folks on Twitter talking about “updating their 30, 40, and 50,000 foot GTD goals.”. This made me realize that while I’ve really been cruising along in the day-to-day arena, I’ve pretty much neglected some higher level thinking. When you’re working 9 hour days and the to-do lists are always full, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of considering larger goals and visions. Or at least it is for my ADD riddled brain.
50,000 Feet – Life’s Purpose
If I talk about my big time life goals, I would say at the moment they reside in three categories:
Be a wonderful father and husband (and son) for my family
I want to provide us with enough to live comfortably, but not work so hard as to interfere with spending time with my son and wife. Family time is extremely important to me.
Become a well known and respected member of the SQL Server community
After knocking around for years in various technical roles, I really feel that I’ve finally found my niche. I love working with SQL Server; the internals, the various moving pieces, the never ending amount of information to learn. And as I’ve continued to learn and grow, I’ve really become enamored with the SQL community; not in a weird man-crush kind of way, but in a “wow the combined amount of knowledge and experience present here is amazing” kind of way. I really want to become more engaged in being a part of that.
Become a published author
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved writing. It’s always been a dream of mine to write a best selling novel. Not one of those cheap drug store romance pieces, but something really deep and dark, that gives its readers a real emotional reaction. I’ve picked up more books this year than any year since high school, and the end result has been a real return of that hunger to create. When I read stories like Ender’s Game and The Deathly Hallows, and watch some phenomenal visual narratives like Battlestar Gallactica and Lost (except for the last season, which I think overall was pretty bad), I’m continuously left with a feeling of “I want to write that.” By no means an easy thing to do, but I’m keeping it on the list.
40,000 feet – 3-5 year goals
Present at least once at a SQL community event
I still consider myself very much a rookie in the SQL Server realm, so I’m giving myself a couple of years yet before I start expecting to be at a level where I can present. I’m constantly coming up with ideas, which are getting filed away in a safe place (i.e. anywhere but my brain) for later use. That way, when I feel I’m ready, I’ll have plenty of material.
I’ve only recently begun studying for my 70-433 and 70-432 exams, and while in a lot of cases I’m finding that I already know the material, there’s also a lot to learn. As you’ll see later I’m hoping to pass those two exams within a year, but to get the full MCITP certs I’m giving myself a little longer, both for experience and financial reasons (at least for the moment it looks like I’ll be paying my own way).
Take on some side consulting work
Make no mistake: I love my job and the company I work for, and I’m not looking to quit and move into full time consulting. But I would like to start entering into that world, both for experience and, to be totally honest, the extra money. I don’t know how feasible this will be, since I won’t be able to commit to anything more than 8-12 hours per week. I’m hoping I can find some “Remote DBA” style opportunities, and maybe some performance analysis / tuning ones.
30,000 Feet – 1 year goals
Servers at 100% Patch Level
When I inherited my current environment of around 35 SQL Servers, one of the first things I did was to assess their health. Overall I found them in pretty poor condition, especially in the realm of patch level. Many were at least one major service pack behind, which is completely unacceptable. This year, that will change.
Build a complete replica of production
Right now our development environment is scattered and disjointed; some servers have many components (i.e. Analysis Services, Reporting Services), while others have only the Database Engine components. This does not make for valid testing, since it looks nothing like production. By the end of the year, that will change, and I will have a complete setup (including network topology) mirroring our production systems.
Start a SQL community at work
Because I’m very much a “teach a man to fish, don’t catch the fish for him” kind of guy, I want to start helping to empower the folks around me to be better SQL Server users. I’ve decided to do this via series of learn-over-lunch sessions where we’ll all get together and study up on the latest trends in SQL. Sometimes we’ll just be viewing webinars, others we might jointly look over some troublesome code and decide how to fix it. Having already had one such session the response so far has been very positive, and I’m excited to keep on learning.
That’s about it for now. I’m sure things will come on and move off over the course of the year, but I’m really going to try and tie my actions to these higher goals as much as possible. From time to time I think I’ll check in and see where I stand, maybe once a quarter.
What are your big goals for the year?