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Mentoring – risk and reward

8 Feb

So, Paul Randall is offering to mentor six people for a couple of months, in response to the feedback from the Tribal Awards last year.

Now that’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it?

First of all, the opportunity to seek guidance and assistance from one of the most knowledgeable people in the SQL Server community, for free, is not to be sniffed at.

But just imagine the fun to be had in job interviews forever afterwards:

“So, you trained with Paul Randall?”, I know its mentoring, but people will see what they want to, “Well, we have a 200 server system with 20 Tb databases in 30 countries. Clustering is a bit flaky and the Merge Replication between our 7 Russian sites and Australia keeps failing – how would you fix that?”.  People can set higher expectations when they see certain names in connection with you.

And of course, there’s always the thought of failing to meet Paul’s expectations too. After all, this is his own time he’s sacrificing – squeezing in between his day job and the inordinate amount of reading he appears to do to.  Years from now whenever he’s asked – “Oh yeah, Steve – nice enough guy but I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my systems.” – the career version of the Black Spot. The rest of my career on NoSQL databases.

And what do I actually need anyway? With the all-seeing eye that is Google and a company-paid subscription to SafariBooksOnline, it certainly isn’t reading material. And although it pains me to say so, I do work with several people who really know their SQL Server, so the day-to-day stuff should be catered for. And no, I’m not giving names – they’d be insufferable.

And that’s the problem – day-to-day stuff.  Training beyond what I need for my current job. Methodology. The ‘what’ and the ‘how’.

I have so many draft articles in my blog – slowly composting because I’m not sure how to approach them or even if they’re of enough interest to myself really to actually complete.

I paid my own way to SQL Pass a couple of years ago and I’ve paid for this year too, as well attending a SQLBits conference a few years ago. This is currently how I find out what others do, outside of my little bubble of experience.

I’ve changed direction several times within my long career in IT and it’s usually because somebody who is very experienced in their field and can teach it has shown me into their little world. Not necessarily taught me the syntax and the tool usage, but shown me how to think in a way that takes advantage of whatever language/tool they use. A couple of months of being shown that can make changes that last years.

So I’m willing to put my name forward for this, in my own style. Who knows, we may both learn something. Even if not selected it made me think about what I really want out of this new direction my career has taken. And if I get nothing more from this, I can at least thank the man who introduced me to the Wool trilogy via his twitter messages.

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Showing copyable SQL code in a blog

22 Oct

Well that was fun. Setting up the WordPress account was quite straightforward and there’s plenty of material out there about creating a basic post for it.
However, I wanted to be able to include SQL code that could be copied by anybody reading the article – much friendlier than making them type it back out themselves from a screen-shot.
It took a little bit of hunting and of course there is an article within the numerous WordPress support articles. The trick is to get the correct phrasing through Google.

I have three links to articles on this feature:
http://allaboutruby.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/post-ruby-or-html-css-sql-code-in-your-wordpress-com-blog/
http://en.support.wordpress.com/code/posting-source-code/
http://thesqlguy.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/publishing-source-code-to-wordpress-using-windows-live-writer-2011/
So to get the following code to appear in the correct colours and with the facility for it to be copied:
SELECT *
FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
WHERE COLUMN_NAME LIKE ‘%test%’
Place the correct tags around the code:

wordpress01

And it will appear as:

SELECT *
FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
WHERE COLUMN_NAME LIKE '%test%'

Unfortunately, what I can’t find is any way to keep the formatting when using copy/paste into SSMS. Trying that produces the code on one long line. So for now, I’ll just have to try and remember to leave a space at the start of each line. Then at least the code will parse correctly (I’m not promising anything will actually execute correctly!).