Chris Yates is hosting the TSQL Tuesday party this month. You can read the original invitation here. The rules for participation are in the invite. Check it out.
Many years ago I went to college at BYU (Brigham Young University) and studied computer science. While in school, I found it easier to get thru classes, to learn, and to share by associating myself with others. I had a Calculus class where I met a young lady retaking the class to raise her grade. We became friends and she helped me study. This was mutually beneficial. She was able to teach and mentor, I was able to learn and study. We both gained. But we became friends along the way. I also found a study group in a Physics class of similar folks. We all got to know each other, used each other, and benefited from each other. This wouldn't have worked had I not given back to them, nor would it have worked if they only took from me. Symbiosis.
Fast forward a few years, and you find me working for a software company. I wasn't the first one there, so I was able to learn from a great colleague. Nathan was a very smart developer, and was patient with me as he taught me the systems he created. I was able to take them over and develop them further than he had for a time. I was able to, in turn, teach others about said systems, and we all progressed. The company benefited. We individually benefited. This job got me my first exposures to databases, a benefit that has served me till this day.
I still am friends with some of these folks. Some I follow on Facebook. Some I've not seen physically in a long time, but those connections have been made, forged, and are hard to break. We may no longer be colleagues. We may not see each other often. But somewhere along the way, we became something akin to family. Not blood. Not relations. But if there is a level above colleague and friendship, I’m not sure what to call it. Family will suit me fine for now.
Every Sunday I go to church and interact with people that have a similar belief system. Some of these folks are my immediate neighbors, while others are neighbors in title only. As we interact, we learn about each other, our needs, our wants, and so on. Each of these interactions tends to build on the previous ones, and soon, friendships are formed, then a little more. Sometimes not. But those that become friends, sometimes become family.
My career started a number of years ago. In my early career I worked with colleagues. They were the ones that I leaned on when I needed help. But they were few. As my career progressed, I was able to learn more, meet more people, and have more individuals in my corner of influence. If I was able to help them out and they were able to help me out, we both benefited. As I leaned my career more into the SQL world I was so lucky to fall into a new family.
Fast forward to today. I've found another family. It’s the #SQLFamily. It’s just like all the other families that I've participated in previously, just on a much larger scale. It started with a local community of like-minded individuals participating in a User Group. We were able to support each other in our day jobs, as well as while attending functions as a User Group. Soon we were able to meet other extra-regionally folks to add to our network. This has exploded to the point that when I attend a SQL conference, I can rarely attend without knowing someone at the event. At PASS Summit, it feels like 'DBA Summer Camp', where we get to see our friends from last summer. We get to high five, hug, or simply say ‘hi’ and then recount our stories from when we last saw each other. The tales become those little strings of connections that further forge those bonds, further those friendships, furthering our familyness.
When I got hired at my current job, those performing the interview googled me. They found out quite a bit about me through this investigation. They knew that I was on twitter and even researched the tweets. Soon I was able to show the power of this tool and the #sqlfamily through gaining answers to questions while sitting in a meeting with my team. Some topic had came up and I thought to reach out to my #sqlfamily for answers. Before the meeting concluded, I had #sqlfamily members answering me and helping me out. My boss sees this as a huge benefit. They didn't just hire me, they hired a slew of other technical individuals that are simply a keystroke away. Hundreds. Soon, thousands.
I never want to go back to before. Alone, in my cubicle. Trying to figure things out with the knowledge I have or can find on the interwebs. I wouldn’t ever get rid of my friends, no, my family.
Join my family. Welcome me into your family. Share with me, and I will share with you. We will all benefit. Our careers will be better for it. And along the way, we will become friends and family.