What #SQLFamily Means to Me

If you haven’t heard about some of the great things my company, Pragmatic Works, is doing to give back to our veterans integrating back into civilian life, check out what Microsoft is doing to get involved with this. In light of this, Microsoft wants to hear more about #SQLFamily and other amazing instances where someone in the SQL community has lent a helping hand. Microsoft has pledged to donate $50 for the first 400 stories submitted illustrating #SQLFamily. I thought it’d be appropriate, therefore, for me to share what #SQLFamily means to me. But first let me share how I ended up as a business intelligence consultant.

In 2008 I was loading trucks at UPS and had been for the previous six years as I progressed through college. I wasn’t happy there but it had great benefits so I was content to stick out and try and make something happen. I’ve always believed that a person can make anything happen if that person has the desire, the drive, and the determination, so I kept my head down and worked hard while hoping that some kind of management position would open up and give me the break I’d been looking for.

Then in August that year I learned through a buddy from high school, Devin Knight (blog | twitter), that his brother, Brian Knight (blog | twitter), was offering free training in something called “SQL”. Devin gave me a preview of the language and it seemed straight forward enough. I told Devin I was interested.

Devin put me in touch with Brian, whom I’d met a couple times before and we scheduled some time for me to start my training learning SQL and SQL Server Reporting Services. I went through three days of training with Brian and Mike Davis (blog | twitter) and learned about Select statements, data sources, reports, and tablixes. It was a lot to take in in just three days time, but I did my best. Brian and Mike were patient with me and answered the many questions I had.

Then one day I was driving home from work and Brian called me up. He was offering me a job as a Junior Business Intelligence Consultant. He said he saw a lot of upside in me. Brian wanted to take me in, mentor me, and train me. And as they say, the rest is history.

Since that day my life has never been the same. I won’t ever be able to thank Brian enough for giving me my shot. Because of Brian’s generosity, optimism, and faith in me, my life has changed for the better. And it’s because of Brian’s tremendous example that you can find me speaking at SQL Saturday and Code Camp events or answering questions on my blogs or the forums of BIDN.com. If I can have a fraction of the impact on someone else that Brian had in my life, then maybe in that way I can say thanks.

So that’s what #SQLFamily means to me. It means helping others because someone somewhere at some point gave you a helping hand. Whether it was a coworker who answered a question for you or someone who proofread your resume, take the time to say thanks and pay it forward to someone else who just needs a little faith, optimism, and a helping hand.

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