Monday, March 24, 2008

Celebrity DBA Work

I've always had a soft spot for celebrities who have their entire lives spilled out in public. It's gotta be tough to not only have everyone see how good or bad you do you in your job, but also in your personal life as well. And I've often thought for everything I'm not (rich, well-known, etc) at least I don't have all my failures made public.

At least, that's the way it is until you have a disaster with one of your DBs. Then everyone wants to come stand over your shoulder and watch you bring it back online. Now the heat is on because you have to remember every last command and parameter in front of the crowd. And knowing that is like trying to stop laughing in church. The pressure is just too great. Some DBAs fold at this time. Others just do their jobs like nothing's going on. Me, I clear my desk of on-lookers. I had that happen just this morning. I can't stand to have people just standing there watching me work. I like to be able to follow a train of thought without worrying about how I come off to my audience. So I always tell them... the sooner you leave the sooner I can get to work fixing this.
This morning's disaster came in the form of a dev sending me an email telling me his system was down. He then followed up with a trip to my desk. So I asked him... did you come over just to stand over my shoulder and watch me work? Thankfully, he took the hint and left. But it's not always that easy.

I've always been very sensitive about that with other people too. Unless invited, I always try to stay on the backside of the monitor... especially when someone is trying to get something done in a hurry or needs to concentrate.

There are those who don't really mind people watching them. These would be those who present at conferences all the time and are used to it. But I'm not one of them. Anyway though... give your DBAs a break. If you want them to do something for you, don't stand there and watch them. Just leave and they'll call you when it's ready.


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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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