Tag Archive for SQL Community

WANTED: Mentor – Inquire Within – Recruiters Need Not Apply


A mentor is someone you can ask questions so that you can accomplish your goals. They are a sounding board for your ideas so that you can feel more confident about the direction you are going to reach your goals. It’s not the mentor’s job to tell you what to do or how to do it, but to provide guidance so that you can go down your own path. The mentor should shine a light down the path, and not carry you. Usually these goals are related to furthering your career, but they can also be more specific as well.

Being Mentored

There are many ways to be mentored. You don’t have to use only one technique at a time either. Below are a few of the techniques that I have used in the past.

  • Blogs and Forums: With the internet you can ask anything that comes to mind and there are endless answers to those questions…But which is the correct answer for you? This is a great avenue to find answers quickly, or in the middle of the night, but I don’t think this your only way to achieve your goals. Why? The internet doesn’t ask YOU questions. The internet doesn’t remind you that you are straying away from your goals. The internet won’t congratulate you when you achieve your milestones. The internet IS a great place to do research so that you figure out what goals you want to achieve.
  • Teams: Another method that I have used is the team approach. I gathered several others who had similar goals so that we could share our ideas. This is a great way to hear several ideas at one time. The others in the group might ask questions you hadn’t thought of as well. I tried this technique when I was an artist. I gathered several other artists together and we met once a month to share ideas on how to sell our art. We all worked with different mediums and our ideas on how to sell and even display our art was as diverse as the mediums we worked with. The only drawback was we were all at the same place in our careers. Sometimes we didn’t have ideas on how to get to the next level, because none of us had been there. I see the SQL PASS User Groups fulfilling this type of mentorship in my life today. I found this technique very rewarding, because as I received help, I was also helping others.
  • One on One: The traditional way, is having a one on one relationship with someone. It doesn’t have to be a long-term relationship. It can be just a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or a life time. My first mentor was a colleague at my first job out of college. We were both MCTs. He was a great speaker and programmer, and I was very shy. We would meet for lunch every two weeks and I would ask him questions on how to present better and how to be more assertive. We would discuss my questions and set goals for our next discussion. Today, 18 years later, we are working at our 4th company together.

If you live in a remote area, don’t think you can’t have a mentor. You can be mentored through email, Skype, Webex, and half a dozen other formats. The important part is to have a set of goals and commitment from both sides to work towards those goals.

How Do You Know If You Need A Mentor?

  • If you know where you want your career to go, but you’re not sure of how to get there, you may need a mentor.
  • If you have too many goals and don’t know how to prioritize them, you may need a mentor.
  • If you are reading this article, you may need a mentor…OR you may need to BE a mentor.

WANTED: Mentor For Mickey Stuewe

Yup, I’m looking for a mentor to help with my goals. Why? Because I’m a proactive person and I like to talk things through. I want to bounce ideas off of someone on topics to speak on at conferences like SQL Saturday and SQL PASS. I want to talk to someone about the different Microsoft Certifications and whether they will help me in my career. I need advice on how to obtain my “dream job”. I’m looking for someone who is encouraging and supportive. Are you interested?

T-SQL Tuesday #36 – What Community Means to a Newbie

The 4th quarter of 2012 has marked many firsts for me. I attended my first SQL Saturday and my first PASS Summit. I joined my first SQL User’s Group. I started a blog, and now I’m participating in T-SQL Tuesday. This month’s topic is about what community means to me. Since I have only recently found this amazing community, I’m blogging about the community from a Newbie’s perspective.

In the beginning…..

I knew no one in the SQL community outside of my IT department. The database side of my IT department has less than 5 people. I desperately searched for a local SQL Users group, but I couldn’t find an active one, so I widened my search criteria. I found I was half way between the LA SQL PASS chapter and San Diego SQL PASS Chapter, both of which are 50 miles away and a 1.5 to 2 hour drive on a Thursday night. What to do, what to do.

I lucked out. On Sept 15th, 2012 the San Diego SQL PASS Chapter (SDSQL) was hosting a SQL Saturday (#157).

It changed my life.

I drove down to San Diego (by myself) not expecting much. I took Jason Strate’s (B|T) session on Discovering the Plan Cache. His session was so good, that I changed my schedule and attended his other 2 sessions. By the end of the day, I was happy with the day, but I had hardly said two words to anyone. I had really wanted to network, but my shy side had stopped me (yes I do actually have a shy side. It’s very small, but it’s there). Phil Robinson, the president of the chapter, invited everyone to a local sports bar for dinner and I went.

This is where the magic happened.

Before I even went into the building I was greeted by someone from Quest. She happens to work in the building next to me. She introduced me to others and I finally began to network. As the night moved on, I met Phil Helmer (B|T) and everything really changed. He introduced me to other frequent members of the local chapter, as well as some of the speakers. We talked about the PASS Summit 2012, which I wasn’t going to be able to attend until 2013. After talking to Phil for a couple of hours, I decided I wanted to go this year, so I convinced my manager to let me go.

Phil was also the one who convinced me to set up a Twitter account, which I’m now an active member of. Twitter has provided me a way to stay in touch with the SQL community. It has also provided a way to help others with SQL questions.

That night I also struck up a conversation with Benjamin Nevarez (B|T). I told him how I use to be a Microsoft Certified Trainer and I wanted to start speaking on SQL topics in a year or two. He thought that goal was too far away and that I should speak at the next Huntington Beach SQL Saturday coming up in early 2013. He was very encouraging and has convinced me to submit a proposal.

But it gets better.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks prior to SQL PASS Summit 2012. I received an email from Joe Fleming (T). He was to be my mentor for Summit 2012. He was so helpful, answering all my questions and making sure I met people at the Summit. He’s not the only one either. Before the Summit even started, I had met new people on Twitter who would be attending the conference. Once I arrived at the Summit, I didn’t sit still for a week. I met so many fabulous people, and they accepted me, just the way I am. I never felt like the ugly stepsister. I never felt like the eccentric artist. I was never shut out because I’m Christian. I was accepted.

I was part of the SQL community.

Update: After reading the other T-SQL Tuesday #36 blog posts. I realized that I hadn’t thanked the host, Chris Yates (B|T) for hosting this month’s SQL blog party. Thank you Chris.

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