The Good DBA Journal

The place I work at, has an imaginary jar, called The Bad DBA Jar. This is the jar you put imaginary DBA dollars when you make a mistake (and get caught).
We joke around the office, when we catch each other making a mistake, “You owe $5.00 to The Bad DBA jar”.

I can hear you asking “What? Do DBAs actually make mistakes?”

Yes, we do. We are humans too. We make mistakes too, and we do learn from our mistakes (most of us anyways).

What type of mistakes do DBAs make, and wish nobody would find out?

I can only speak for myself. Here are a few, I’m sure you can relate:

  • shutdown production database, better said, crash production database, in the second week on a new job.
  • drop schema without backing up the user and objects
  • start a database refresh in the wrong environment
  • deploy a change without testing the rollback plan
  • forgetting to check in tnsnames.ora files into version control

The list can continue on, you can add more to it in the comments section.

I am a strong believer that mistakes have an important purpose:

To LEARN from them. To teach us how to do something the right way. If we would not make mistakes we would not learn as much.

Everyone makes mistakes, even the brightest minds. The goal is not to not make mistakes. The goal is to learn from your mistakes and not make the same one twice.

We tend to remember our mistakes. But do we remember our good actions, our accomplishment? The things that we do everyday on the job and make a difference?

If there is a Bad DBA Jar, why not create a Good DBA Jar? Or even better, an actual physical Good DBA Journal?

The Good DBA Journal

What would you write in the Good DBA Journal or Jar? Instead of money, I would write something like this:

  • notes to yourself “Fixing the performance problem for the month end report in FINPRD was awesome!”
  • notes for other team members “Izzy, thanks for staying late yesterday and helping me out with the database restore!”
  • notes from other teams “Hey DBAs, thanks for helping deliver the database upgrade project on time, much appreciated!”

You get the idea.

I recommend you create your own journal, and every time you do something good, worth mentioning, write it down.

The benefits of such a thing would be tremendous.

Why? Because reading these messages or notes make you feel good. It makes you want to do more of it.

Getting recognition from yourself and others, feels great!
Feeling appreciated, feels great!
A sense of contribution, feels great!

Beside all these great feelings, having a list of all the good things you did, can also help with your case for a raise.
Next time your yearly review comes up, you have a whole jar or book, of all the accomplishments and good things you did in your job, in your favor.

Get a notebook, get a pen, and start writing!

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–Diana


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