David Stein (Blog – Twitter) started a chain post the other day titled “What is your Biggest Weakness?” The Classic Interview Question. He tagged Brent Ozar (Blog – Twitter) who tagged Thomas LaRock (Blog – Twitter) 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.
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.