Brent Ozar has passed on another doozie. His list is pretty good. Since I’m much more a tactical guy than a big picture strategic guy, my advice to me in the past is going to be more tactical in nature.
Learn the Rules of Normalization
Yeah, eventually I picked up on them, but not before I built about six or seven systems I would be profoundly embarassed to show anyone today. I realize that pointing at the fundamentals is just shy of a non-answer to the question, but the fact of the matter is, I was a bit of a cowboy. Still am. The beauty, and curse, of being a cowboy is, you tend to bypass things. Sometimes, you’re riding by trouble you just don’t need. Other times, you’re hell bent for leather past a watering hole, or a whole section of knowledge, that you really need to spend some time with. I would have made a lot of better decisions earlier in my career and maybe built things a little faster and better if I’d taken the time to learn a few more of the fundamentals.
Get Involved with the Community
I was aware of newsgroups and other communities back when I started (although they were on bulletin boards you dialed into back then). While I was aware, I didn’t get into them. Looking back, I should have been hanging on the boards as much as I do now. Read the questions. Read the answers. Try to answer the questions yourself. It’s a free education. It builds up friendships and professional acquaintances that will prove useful. You can be useful. It all adds up to help you in your professional life and career.
I realize this will echo some of Brent’s thoughts, but I guess they bear repeating. As I mentioned in the previous post on my biggest mistakes, not knowing enough hurts. If you’re in a position to be a subject matter expert, you better be taking the time to learn as much about that subject as you can. The truth is, no matter how much you know, there’s more to learn. You can’t sit back on your laurels & enjoy the view from on top. You have to keep digging. There is no bottom. There is never enough knowledge. You can always learn more. You have to be prepared to answer THE question when it comes up. What’s the question you ask. Why? It’s not enough to know what. As the subject matter expert you have to know why.
Keep Looking for Challenges
If you work for any reasonably sized organization, there may be two or three people doing your job. You may be the best. So? No matter where you are, it’s a small pond. You may be the biggest fish there, but stick your head up and look around. There are bigger ponds with bigger fish, and lakes and oceans. You need to keep pushing yourself and challenging yourself. You’ll grow more, which will lead to bigger and better opportunities in the job market. Or, it might not lead to bigger & better, it might lead to just right. You may find that perfect opportunity where you’re doing exactly what you want. But you can only get there by striving.
Stay out of the Dew Drop Inn
Mason jars full of tecquila & crushed ice are not good for you. ‘Nuff said.
I’m not too sure about all these, but I think it’s stuff I do now, that I didn’t always do and I wish I had. Who to tag? Let’s try: