T-SQL Tuesday #32: A Day in the Life

T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday

My idea for this month’s T-SQL Tuesday came from a book I read many years ago, Water Cooler Diaries: Women across America Share Their Day at Work.  I don’t remember how I found the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  As I said in my original post, I like knowing what people do, and this book provided insight into what many women did every day.  Some women also talked about trying to manage a work life balance in their chapter.  I didn’t call out that balance in my post on purpose – I wanted people to focus on their actual job – though I’m curious to see if anyone mentions it.  Below, I actually detailed my entire day, not just my time at work, so skip those parts if you’re not interested :)

I didn’t find anything new when I chronicled my day.  In fact, it affirmed much of what I already knew: I’m still inefficient at times, and I get interrupted a lot, which disrupts my work flow.  Don’t get me wrong – I love helping people and don’t want to dissuade anyone from asking me questions.  However, our work environment invites conversation, and there is a standing open door policy all the way through the CEO.  Like anything, there are positives (collaboration) and negatives (distraction).

The biggest benefit of tracking my day is that I’m reminded that working from home is going to be a whole new challenge for me.  I expect to have better control over my interruptions – turn off the phone, close Twitter, close email…and no random drive-bys.  But, will the quiet drive me crazy?  I won’t know until I’m in it, and the good news is that I get to start with a clean slate.  I can make a break from old habits and create better ones.  I need to solicit others who work from home to see how they do it.  I realize that everyone has their methods, and I have to figure out what works from me, but I like seeing what everyone else does, then piecing together the parts that work for me.  But enough about the future, here’s what happened last week…

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

5:45 AM I wake up early today to catch up on some emails and regular life stuff.  After a half hour I realize that I should do this more often.  I get a lot done, and it is good time to myself before everyone else is up.  I think better in the morning.  Note to self.

7:00 AM Solitude over, time to start the day and get ready

7:30 AM Begin the task of rousing the kids.  I’m pretty sure this is the hardest part of my day.

8:15 AM Out of the house and off to drop off the kids and then to work.  It’s nice that both kids are in the same place (not the case during the school year, but that changes this fall).

8:45 AM Walking in to work, thinking about my day…three meetings.

9:00 AM First meeting, and it’s with Jim to talk about Customer A, for whom we did a Performance Assessment recently.  Jim is an infrastructure guy who knows a ton about storage, networks, etc.  I love talking to him, there is always something new I can learn.  When he started I knew very little about SANs, and he knew very little about databases.  We have both taught each other so much over the past few years – and I have learned so much more from him about life; he is a great guy.  Anyway, we need to finish up the report to send to the customer, and we always review it together one final time before sending it off.

10:20 AM Review with Jim finished, he shows me this crazy video on YouTube (SFW).  My first thought is, how do you practice?

10:25 AM While we were reviewing the report I realized that there were three recommendations I need to finish up.  Time to knock that out…although I have a meeting at 11, and I’m highly tempted to catch up on some emails.  But, I should focus on getting this finished while it’s fresh in my mind.

10:31 AM Mark stops by to ask me a question about a script I ran for a customer a couple weeks ago.  He needs to do something similar, but had issues getting all the statements to execute at once (customer runs Oracle).  The customer was using a third party utility, not SQLPlus, to execute queries.  I explained how we saved the script out to a file and then called it using: @C:\temp\script.sql.

10:33 AM 25 minutes to finish this report.  Go!

10:44 AM Only one recommendation left.  A quick check on Twitter, looks like people are keeping track of their day – so cool!

10:57 AM So close to finishing the report, but it’s not going to happen by 11 AM.  That’s ok.  Time for a meeting with Loic and Gabe to talk about design for some tables and indexes they use in one of their databases – fun stuff.  Sarah just stopped by because she heard that I’m leaving.  I am surprised, and fully humbled, by how many people have emailed, called or stopped by to talk with me.  So many people have been so supportive.  It is overwhelming and wonderful.

11:54 AM I’m supposed to teach spin class at noon but no one signed up this week.  Bummer.  I could still work out, but I want to get this report and another spec done.  I wait around to see if anyone shows up and get a couple of phone calls done.

12:18 PM Grab some lunch; eat at my desk as usual and catch up on emails.  This is not a good habit.  When I sit at my desk, I end up reading blogs or something.  I’m not working.  It would really be better to eat with people.  I resolve that when I work from home, I will not eat at my desk.  I will sit at the kitchen table and either read there, or chat with my mom (or a friend) on FaceTime.  I’m going to have virtual lunches people, let me know if you want to join me!

12:42 PM I get an update from a colleague, the go-live for a project I’ve been working on has been moved to August, which means I have to transition the project.  Ugh.  I was really hoping to finish this one and not have to hand it off to JR.  JR and I plan to dial in next week to review the scripts and kick them off in a test database again.  <sigh> I hate that I cannot finish everything.

12:58 PM Headphones on, work on finishing that last recommendation for Customer A’s report.

1:27 PM Not really, Mike has a performance question – he’s trying to move 40 million rows from one database to another via a linked server.  It’s been going for 20 minutes and he’s wondering how long it’s going to take.  I tell him to look at the row in sys.partitions for the table and see how quickly the number of rows is increasing.  A quick peek tells us there are only 40,000 rows in the table after 20.  Time to find another option.

JR and I start talking about the user conference the company is having at the end of the month.  We are taking a half day session and expanding it to a full day and have a lot to do, amongst all the regular projects.  We make a plan.  Then I make some notes about my discussion with Loic and Gabe earlier.  I want to ask some SQL peeps their opinion, and need to document the proposed schema before I forget.

Mike comes back and we talk about bcp and bulk import to move the data from one database to another.  I have a set of statements I use that I tell him I will send over.  Hm, they’re not commented.  I take five minutes to put the statements into our standard template and comment them.   Note to self: Do this as you go along!  It saves time in the long run.  I know better.

2:08 PM Report is finished!  I email it to JR to review. He is a stickler for grammar and he has a great eye for detail.  He is busy, and I feel bad asking, but I always appreciate having someone read a report after I’ve been working on it for a long time.  After so many hours, it all starts to blur.  On to Customer B – I need to make changes to their report specification after Monday’s on site visit.

2:16 PM Kevin calls me into his office and asks if I’ve seen a specific document.  I haven’t.  It has database information in it.  Information that’s not correct.  This upsets me.  I tell Kevin I will read through the document and make notes.  When am I going to do that?

2:21 PM I get an email that Kevin is ordering Mitchell’s ice cream.  Hallelujah.  Back to the report spec.

3:52 PM I need a break, I have a meeting at 4.  Report spec is not done, but good progress has been made.  I like writing, but some documents are harder than others.  The specification is hard because I have to verify what was decided against a Word document with my notes in it and some emails, and then I’m also getting names and IDs from the customer database, so I’m jumping between windows.  I do much better when I write long sections at a time.

4:00 PM Last meeting of the day, we are reviewing recommendations for another Performance Assessment customer.

4:30 PM The meeting goes well and finishes early which is perfect as my oldest has a baseball game at  6 PM and I need to get home first, and there’s a Kindergarten meeting for my youngest at 7 PM.  I don’t usually leave this early so it feels very weird to walk out of the building.  I feel like telling people I worked a really long day on Monday so leaving a little early is ok.  I think too much.

4:45 PM Kids picked up, on our way home.

5:00 PM Home.  Thank the neighbor for helping out, and somehow she ends up coming in to the house to chat. Now?  I try to convince the kids to eat.  They’re not interested.  Nick arrives home around 5:30, he takes the oldest off to baseball.  Youngest and I head out around 6:30.

7:00 PM Meeting starts and the gears completely switch to Kindergarten (my baby is starting Kindergarten!).  I am one of the few parents with an older child already in school, so it’s a different perspective.  The discussion reminds me of why I love this school.

8:10 PM The meeting starts to break up but I linger to talk to some other parents.  At 8:25 we finally leave.

8:40 PM Back home, Nick just finished making dinner (thank goodness he likes to cook).  Even though it’s incredibly late, I like that we all sit down and eat together as a family.

9:10 PM Nick cleans up the kitchen, I get the kids bathed, in to bed…it’s way too late for stories.  They’re maybe asleep by 10.

10:00 PM I’m tired.  There are many things I “should” do, but not tonight.  I head to bed.  And I thought summer was supposed to be relaxing :)

9 Responses to T-SQL Tuesday #32: A Day in the Life
  1. Rick Krueger
    July 17, 2012 | 8:36 am
  2. [...] month’s T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by none other than Erin Stellato (blog | twitter)..  Her task to us was to [...]

  3. [...] This month’s T/SQL Tuesday challenge was from Erin Stellato (blog|twitter) of SQLskills. She asked us to document a given day last week and then craft your post around what happened in order to provide an idea as to what a typical Day in the Life for a SQL Server Professional is like. I expect it to shake out that when looking at the full scope of submissions we will the find expected similarities – but will also conclude that the roles we feel are overwhelmingly homogenous are in fact quite different. [...]

  4. Nancy Hidy Wilson
    July 17, 2012 | 5:18 pm

    Erin,
    I think you’ll love working from home; it is what I do on most days – I’m only “in the office” about 1 day / week now. It does greatly help with the “drive-by” interruptions and in my case saves about 2-2.5 hours of commute time each day. I like your idea for virtual lunches via Facetime – I need to do that! Good luck with wrapping up the old job and starting the new one!
    –Nancy

  5. [...] in this months #tsql2day throw down. This month Erin Stellato is the king pin and her topic is “A day in the Life.” This gives me a great opportunity to explain a day in the life of a DBA who works for a company [...]

  6. Josh Feierman
    July 18, 2012 | 6:25 pm

    Sounds a lot like my day (especially the constant interruptions and exhausted at end of day part)! I was really bummed I didn’t get a chance to post my day due to some fire fighting going on. Go figure, a DBA has to work long hours fixing stuff. No excuses though. :)

    I’ll be curious to see how transitioning into full time work from home goes. Can’t wait for the post on that one!

  7. Ayman El-Ghazali
    July 20, 2012 | 8:14 am

    Refreshing story.
    It sounds close to my day except between 5-8pm my two older boys are screaming and fighting each other, and my one year old twin boys are going through all the drawers in the kitchen and screaming for food!
    Try taking a walk for lunch, it really helps clear the mind. If you have any SQL code that will get my kids to eat please share :)

  8. [...] T-SQL Tuesday #32 – A Day in the Life (roundup) [...]

  9. [...] T-SQL Tuesday #32 – A Day in the Life (roundup) [...]

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