A few months ago Ewald Cress asked you to share stories about people who have made a difference in your professional life. Dozens of you wrote about who impressed you, inspired you, taught you, helped you, and guided you. It’s a testament to the Microsoft data community that so many were recognized by so many– that we have those willing to give of their time and those who are publicly appreciative of it.
Now I will give you an opportunity to give back. Everyone reading this has benefitted from their fellow data professionals. And that benefit puts you in a position to share alike. You’ve learned something, so you can teach. You’ve been supported, so you can help. You’ve been led, so you can lead. But you don’t have to do it alone. We’re all going to do it together.
So here is my call. Pick some way you can help our community. (Ideally, this would be our technical community, but if you’re passionate about some other type of service, that works too.) Then, make a plan– a real plan, with specific steps and dates. Just like Mala Mahadevan asked you to do with your learning goals for this year. Then, and this is the important part, you’re going to write it down for the world to see.
Back when I was still toying with the idea of speaking, it was specific persuasion and public accountability which gave me the push to make it happen. So now I’m giving that to you. I am specifically asking you, dear reader, to make and publish this plan, and I’m going to help make it a reality by gently holding you accountable. You will set your own goals and I will check-in to see how things are going. I will offer what encouragement I can. And I will celebrate your accomplishments.
And if you think there is nothing you can contribute to this community, I am excited to tell you that you are wrong! Some ideas:
- Join Twitter and post links to articles and blog posts you find interesting. Make yourself available for questions. Monitor #SQLHelp and contribute when you can. Signal boost those looking for work.
- Meet people at industry events and see if anyone you know could help them with a problem.
- Volunteer at a SQLSaturday or other conference.
- Write a recommendation for a colleague on LinkedIn.
- Go to user group meetups and conferences and tell everyone you meet about PASS.
- Answer questions on DBA Stack Exchange.
- Convince your boss to send you to PASS Summit. (That revenue helps fund our ecosystem.)
- Write an instructional blog post.
- Host a “lunch and learn” at work.
- Make an instructional video or screencast.
- Speak at your local user group or SQLSaturday. (You can start with a 10 minute lightning talk.)
- Convince your boss to sponsor your local user group or SQLSaturday.
- Nominate someone to be a Microsoft MVP.
- Take your magic beans scripts and make them public utilities like sp_Blitz, sp_whoisactive, and Ola Hallengren’s index maintenance solution.
- Contribute to existing open source tools like dbatools.
- Work at improving diversity in tech.
- Join the board of a user group or start your own.
- Guide others through a process like Brent Ozar did for Summit submissions.
- Encourage others to begin speaking, like Andy Yun did with T-SQL Tuesday #84.
- Host a T-SQL Tuesday.
- Become a mentor.
Pick something. Tell us why. Tell us how. Tell us when.
We’ll ask “are we there yet?” and give you a high five when we are.
Now to be fair, many #tsql2sday contributors already pour boundless energy into the community. And some might simply not be willing to step up publicly. So for those who still want to party, I submit the alternative topic of your favorite improvement in SQL Server 2017. (If none of the new features excite you, tell us how you successfully used something new from 2016.)
Update 2018-05-02: For those who routinely give back to our community, thank you again for all of your service. I’m not asking you to give any more. A better angle for you on this topic would be to tell us how and why and you started. How did you discover the community’s need? How did you figure out what your role would be in helping? How did you learn the skills you needed to contribute? Where did you find the confidence to take the leap? How would you recommend others proceed? Thanks again and hopefully this provides a better avenue for you to participate this month.