Sunday, December 13, 2009

What is your Biggest Weakness?

David Stein (BlogTwitter) started a chain post the other day titled “What is your Biggest Weakness?” The Classic Interview Question. He tagged Brent Ozar (BlogTwitter) who tagged Thomas LaRock (BlogTwitter) who then tagged me. So, here goes…

I think one of the hardest things I have had to overcome since becoming a DBA is that I have always been the type of person to just “wing it” or just play things out and see what happens. I have never been the type of person to book a room in advance when traveling, learn a song note for note when playing music, follow a recipe when cooking, or follow directions when assembling a product. Besides, most of these instructions are common sense anyway.

Instructions by ppz.
Do not plug the coffee machine into the baby!

Even when I was a developer, this mentality worked out great. I knew what the end result had to be, and as long as I met all the requirements on or before the deadline, everyone was happy. Nobody really cared what happened in between. Meaning, I could just do my favorite thing and “wing it”.  

While this philosophy has gotten me through most of my life without a hitch, I found this not to be the case when I changed my career to a DBA. All of a sudden I was working on highly critical production systems and the smallest mistake could be disastrous. It took me a while to come around, but I soon started creating checklists, back out plans, and even scripts with step-by-step instructions.

I still don’t really like to have a detailed plan for most things, but I really have to consider the possible outcomes now before I throw caution to the wind. If I have an extra washer left over after putting together a grill, I’ll probably be okay. On the other hand, if I forget to backup a database and I need to rollback an upgrade, I may be sitting in the basement the next day with a can of bug spray looking for my red stapler and wondering if anyone’s seen my paycheck.

I’m gonna tag some Florida folks Kendal Van Dyke (BlogTwitter)  and Jack Corbett (BlogTwitter) to see what they have to say.