Checkpoint: Three Years Later

It kinda snuck up on me. I’ve got so much going on I forgot all about it. There was so much going on: client deliverables, kids birthdays, presentations, conferences, even freaking accounting…life was happening. Three years ago, I was laid off from my job of almost twelve years. I try not to think about it too often; no sense in dwelling in the past. But on the anniversary I like to take a look back at where I was an remind myself about how much has changed. And boy, things have changed.

For almost three years I’ve been working as an independent consultant. There’s nothing glamorous about that but I did get two very important things from working independently. The first thing I got was the ownership of my learning plan. I now control what I learn and how I learn it, fully. If I want to learn Hadoop I get to choose when and how that happens. I no longer have someone telling me that they’re going to send me to Informatica or some other training. I get the choice. Of course, that means I have to pay for it all but I’m convinced that not all knowledge is beneficial for one’s career path. We only have a finite number of minutes every day to learn. I want those precious minuets to be on something I’m passionate about.

The second thing I got was choice. I get to choose who I work with. For me this is empowering. I now choose to work with some of the best people in the business and that would scare some people. Some people need to be the smartest person in the room. So they find a mediocre place to work so that they can be the biggest fish in that little pond. I’m not that guy. I want to be the dumbest person in the room. Why? Because that room is going to be full of amazing people. That’s the team that I look for when looking for work. I want to work with amazing people doing amazing things.

Also during those three years I started speaking…a lot. And let me tell you, I love it. I try to speak at one event a month. I’ve met some great folks traveling around the country presenting at events and conferences. Those people are now colleagues and friends. There’s a fantastic technical community out there if you just look. If I have a technical question that I don’t know the answer to I now have a community of folks that can answer it. It’s awesome.

The other thing that I did was create a local community of developers. We called that community dotNet Miami. I’ve talked a lot about it on this blog. But the people in that community continue to push me towards technical excellence.  And if you didn’t know already we’re a whole lot of fun.

I’ve also created software. It’s a tough line to walk between data professional and software developer but when they come together it’s almost magical. One of the things I’ve created is a website called StatisticsParser.com. This site helps SQL Server professionals make sense out of STATISTICS IO and STATISTICS TIME outputs. It’s a great feeling when Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft MCMs go out of their way and thank you for writing a tool. There’s more tools to come from me so stay tuned.

It’s been an interesting ride so far. Often it’s been scary but it’s been an awesome journey. I’m really looking forward to doing more for the community and my clients. The best is yet to come.