The Value of Mentoring


I would like to discuss something that has been missing in my professional career, mentoring.  With a degree in psychology and a master’s in counseling, I stumbled into the IT field after 10 years of food service management. As a member of Generation-X, I have pretty much grown up with the personal computer (although it wasn’t always an IBM clone). So computer technology has always interested me.  But it wasn’t until I developed a Food Inventory Tracking system using SQL Express 2005 and Visual Basic 2005 Express edition, that realized that I could actually make a career out of being a developer. Fast forward 10 or so years, now I am a Database Administrator for a local hospital managing almost 100 SQL Server instances.

Over the years, I have played with all every Express edition Microsoft had to offer (either VB or SQL).  I have learned from doing (and breaking), reading articles, reading online forums, and  reading blogs.  All of these were an attempt to try and further my understanding of SQL Server; but the one that that was missing in all my 10 years of IT work?  A mentor.

A mentor is such a valuable gift and it should be treated as such. Growing up, I had one of the world greatest mentors in my Scoutmaster.  Mr. Emile Oestriecher, was and is to this day the best mentor one could have for life lessons.  Things he taught me by being an example are things that I live by today: honesty, integrity, loyalty and never give up.

In the SQL Server world, a mentor is just as valuable. Someone to pass on knowledge, tips, and experience.  Of course throwing questions at him would be the simplest way to learn; but getting the chance to discuss SQL Server and how to further my knowledge of it would be priceless. Sometimes the hardest part of learning something, if figuring out the best source of knowledge, especially since there are several hundreds of people who write on the subject of SQL Server.

A SQL Server mentor in my mind would be the type of person who would not give you the answers, but turn you in the right direction so you can figure out the answers yourself.  Not making you drink but definitely leading you to the water!

Learning is a never ending task in the world of SQL Server and life!  Having started may career as an “accidental” IT person, more importantly as an “Accidental DBA”, sometimes I feel I am way behind the curve of knowledge. I am hoping a mentor can help straighten that curve by at least putting me down the correct path.

So Paul Randal, I submit my blog post as a request for mentorship! I look forward to discussing with you the topic of “ways to learn”.

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