Sunday, March 4, 2018

Year in review.....In March? Sure, why not. (or "late night ramblings")

So while I have never been a super active blogger, not posted much in the last year or so.  Couple of good reasons, but mostly, frankly not felt like it for the most part.

2017 had some major ups and downs.  Changed job in early 2017, something I realized was a major mistake after 2 weeks.  The amount of overtime was vastly undersold during the interview.  Even after turning in my notice after 3 weeks, they still wanted me to stay on for my 2 week period even though I was a contract to hire employee.  Guess that is a good thing!!!  At least I helped the team out by getting some issues in their SentryOne install taken care of and well on the way to full coverage.  Belongs in the story that in the time since I left, 2 more DBAs appear to have left the company.

So where did I go?  Back to my old company, but in a different role.  Instead of being in charge of one divisions SQL Servers (all 2 production servers), I took over operational responsibilities for what was supposed to be about 20 production servers.  First day back on the job, before I was even done with the paperwork, my new manager texted me to hang around my desk until she got there.....

Boom!  That morning they terminated the DBA at a different division.  Here Anders, have a few more servers.  Servers I had no idea about, and was doing weird things like scraping emails for CSV files to load into SQL, automatically.  Yikes!

2 weeks goes by, oh Anders you're now in charge of these servers in Canada as well.

Then layoffs happen.  Including the person that had been acting as DBA on one of our larger teams, and who happened to be the manager for the team.  hmm Guess I shall manage the team?  Yes?  No?  None told me, but no new manager had been assigned.  Oh well, time to step up.  Lead the team.  Take charge of 7 developers that are kind of lost due to the "leadership" of the previous manager.  Lots of manual processes.  Performance problems everywhere.  None has time to take care of problems because of the manual processes.  I order the team to within 24 hours give me an analysis of manual processes, including how many hours per week they spend on them.  Over the course of a few weeks we had quite a bit of it automated.  I had put in place proper maintenance on the server.  Phew.

Another team has their client threaten to pull the plug due to performance issues.  Install SentryOne evaluation.  My boss's boss and I poor over the results.  In less than 24 hours (some of it that afternoon) we had taken care of some of the worst performance issues.  I had been asking for SentryOne for us for years, after management saw what we did using it, I got funding for it in no time.

During all this, I am also teaching people straight out of college for the company.  5 weeks of SQL training to get them good enough to start on teams.  I did this for the time I was with the company, some of them have been really good.  One took over my position on one team when I left to go work on another team.   Some not so good.  Sucks to have to cut people, but sometimes you just have to.

In the middle of this spoke at a few SQL Saturdays, Cleveland and Richmond.  Had a great time at both.  Cleveland was my first "away" event.

At the time of separation from the company in late June, I was responsible for about 80 servers.  Most of them humming along just fine, maintenance all standardized.  A few emergency recoveries due to a bug in the firmware of a switch.  yay!  At least I got to test my backup and restore plan.  I think the longest downtime I had on a crash (with no stand by server) was about 45 minutes, mostly because I spent 30 minutes writing the script to restore the files.  Crash, off course, happened about 2 hours before weekly full backups ;)

Within 3 weeks I had two job offers out of about 5 interviews (1 declined by mutual consent that I did not do well, 1 I let them know I was not interested after the interview).  It all came down to two companies.  After the in-person interview with ChannelAdvisor I called my wife "I want to work there,"  something I don't think I have ever said after a job interview before.  Due to time constraints of having to answer an offer the evening of the interview, I was a bit nervous about the timing.  The recruiter at ChannelAdvisor went to work as soon as the people that interviewed me where done.  In record time, while I was driving from Raleigh back home to Charlotte, she had me an offer (Katie you rock!).  Phew!  Dodged a bullet not having to accept the other job (although I would have gotten to work with one of my favorite co-DBAs of all time if I had taken it).

Accepting position late on a Friday night.  10 days until first day!  This started a hectic chain of events.  First up, find somewhere for me to live while we get the house sold.  By pure happenstance, I went with my wife to an SCA event, one of the people there was from Raleigh.  He happened to know someone that had a room to rent, less than 5 miles from my new office!  Yay.

3 months of fixing up the house.  Getting loan for the major pieces that needed done.  A 2 week trip to Norway to speak at SQL Saturday Oslo.  Highly recommended event!  Speaking at SQL Saturday Charlotte.  Buying a house, selling a house.  Coordinating all the things!  Week after Thanksgiving we did a simultaneous closing on sale and purchase.  Moving from a 2900 square foot house, to a 1800 square foot town home has proved, challenging.  All credit goes to my wife for keeping things moving.  And for being willing to uproot from Charlotte. 

Usually for Christmas one, or both of us, goes to be with family on either side.  2017, we decided to stay home.  Worked on the house, relaxed, made some decisions about the future. 

An eventful year for sure.  Loving my new job, full of challenges, something I was really looking for. 

Here's to a good year for you, and a quieter year for me!

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