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Most Influencial Person In My Career (I Am…I Said) April 10, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in Oracle Blog, Oracle Opinion, Richard's Musings.

I previously listed four of the people who have probably had the biggest impact on me as a DBA.

However, the single most important person in my career as a DBA, the person who’s had the biggest impact in all my various successes and failures throughout my career, is undoubtedly the one and only Richard Foote.

Congratulations Slater 🙂

Now I’m not suggesting for one minute I’m as capable or knowledgeable as the four previously listed, indeed I can say with some confidence that I’m not, but there’s no question that at the end of the day, I’m ultimately responsible for being the DBA (and indeed the person generally) I am today.

Influences are of course very important, but it’s up to the individual to ensure all influences (good and bad) become positive experiences. It’s entirely up to the individual to take those influences and to find the drive, the energy, the motivation and the enthusiasm to be as successful, as capable, as knowledgeable and as competent as they can be.

Or indeed as “successful” as one ultimately wants to be because all these things are measured and mean something different to each individual. The scale that really matters, the best measurement to determine the level or standard or confidence that one has achieved is ultimately happiness. When you walk into the office each morning, how do you feel about yourself? You really don’t need to be world’s best Oracle expert (or in any subject matter or profession) to feel good about yourself, to feel you’re heading in the right direction and that you’re at a stage in your career, your work-life journey, where you want to be. To feel like you’re a bloody good and successful DBA.

If you’re “happy” with where you are, congratulations, because you’re the one that’s had the biggest impact and influence in your “success”. If you’re not happy, if you’re not satisfied with where you’re at, if you feel you’re behind where you really want to be, if you’re not the Oracle DBA you want to be (or developer, or pilot or porn star, or whatever), the good news, the really exciting and positive news, is that it’s entirely in your own hands to turn things around.

I spend a good portion of my life at work. I probably spend as much time talking to my work colleagues as I do talking to my own family. I certainly spend more time working on Oracle databases than I do working in my garden or playing football or losing at computer games against the kids or watching David Bowie DVDs. Therefore, it’s really important to me that I enjoy what I do at work and that I’m as good at my job as I can reasonably hope to be. How much I enjoy my work is very much related to how confident I feel in my capabilities and in how much I continue to learn and grow in my abilities. Ultimately, I’m directly responsible for it all…

After I do a presentation or talk, people often ask how do I know all that stuff, how come I know so much about bloody indexes, where did I pick up all that 10g/ 11g stuff. It’s no secret, I spend a lot of energy researching, experimenting and investing time into learning more and more about that which I’m responsible for; which is lots of Oracle databases that have lots of important information for lots of people.

The four people I mentioned as influences certainly have had a big impact in how I approach my learning and my work generally, in how I attempt to better myself, in my drive to test things for myself, in how I view what’s possible and what’s important. However, they can’t actually put things in my brain; they can’t force me to spend hours determining how the behaviour of bitmap indexes changed in 10g, or make me spend hours practicing different types of database recoveries with and without RMAN, or make me start this Blog or make me research and write a 2 day index internals seminar, etc.

That’s all up to me.

How I deal with failure, how I learn (or not) from mistakes, how I determine right from wrong (at so many levels) how I handle criticism, how I admit and respond to errors, how I judge and police values and how I actually absorb and turn influences and feedback into positive experiences is also totally and entirely up to me as an individual as well.

The key point I want to make is that when discussing influences and who has contributed and had an impact in your successes and in your career, ultimately the person who has had the biggest impact is you.