Monday, October 31, 2011

Document Your Day

You should be documenting your day, your week, your month, on a regular basis. Take a few minutes when you accomplish something and make a blog entry. This is a great way for you to keep track of what you’ve accomplished during the year, and be ready to talk about it in an interview, or in a performance review.

You don’t have to publically blog this. You can use Word, emacs, Live Writer, text files, whatever works, but, keep track of it. Read through it when you need it and summarize your accomplishments for the quarter or year. This is also something you consult every quarter when you touch your resume.

And when you get ready for that review, read Kendra Little’s post on asking for a raise.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It’s Your Career

It’s your career. It’s something you have to take ownership of and work on. I know that life is busy, and training budgets are tight. That’s one reason we started SQL Saturday; it’s a way to bring a training event and a conference experience to many people.


I posted this tweet almost a year ago, seeing Brent in a class somewhere, learning and taking notes during some session. It was in humor, but I’m a little serious here. We all have more to learn, and while you don’t need to cram it all in this year, you should be taking advantage of your user group, local events, conferences, classes, even reading something in a newsletter on a regular basis.

Many of us are out here to help. I’ve spoken at 12 events this year, 10 of them free, and will be at another free event this week (SQL in the City - LA). However, you’ve got to make the effort to improve yourself. I , and many others, will try to help you, teach you, but you’ve got to do some work yourself.

Pace yourself, learn at a reasonable rate given the other responsibilities in your life, but don’t ignore this aspect of your career.

PS - If you’re in the LA area, there’s still time to register for SQL in the City and get a free day of training. I’ll also be at DevConnections next week and SQLInspire the week after that.

cross posted at The Voice of the DBA blog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meet Someone New This Week

Meet someone new in your career this week. Wherever you are, go make it a point to either meet a new person, or learn a new thing about someone that you work with, near, or is in the same field.

I'll be at the PASS Summit this week in Seattle, and one of the things that I make it a point to do when I try to meet new people there. It's easier for me since so many people want to meet me and will come up and say hi, but I do try to stop and say hi when I'm in an elevator or on one of the long escalators in the Washington State Convention Center. Or in line, or at lunch.

Just say "hi, I'm Steve" and ask when they do, or why there came to the event. Or at work, ask someone what they did this weekend, or what they'll do next weekend.

Build or maintain your network this week. It doesn't have to be a daily or weekly thing, but make it a point every month to touch part of your network or grow it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Long Road

I gave a keynote talk recently called The Long Road, where I talked about the journey of your career and how you might not end up in the place you expect to be, but that's OK. Modify your career goals as you go.

Networking to Build Business Contacts

The more I learn about building a better career, and the more I talk to people that get new jobs or have success in business, the more I believe that networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career. It just seems to work better, be more reliable, and more effective than any other career improvement strategy. Even blogging, which I think really helps, isn't as effective as having someone that's willing to recommend you.
I never really knew how to go about networking, but a few years ago I attended Don Gabor's seminar at the PASS Summit and it was well worth my money. I learned a lot and have practiced some of his techniques since then. I've even purchased a few of his books, which contain even more information on how to better network and work with others.
If you're attending the 2011 PASS Summit, you can see Don's Networking to Build Business Contacts seminar on Tuesday, Oct 11, from 3-5pm. It doesn't interfere with the other pre-cons, and if you're going to be in town, take this seminar. You will learn some practical tips and exercises you can use to build more contacts, grow your network, and hopefully use it to advance your career at some point. Even if you don't need a job, at some point you will and the time to build a network is before you need it. If you've already registered, call PASS to add this seminar to your registration, or do it on site.
Don has become a friend over the last few years, and was helpful in working on The Mentoring Experiment with me. I find him very insightful and experienced in the world of business and interpersonal interactions and a very interesting person. If you get the chance to sit and talk with Don, take it.