T-SQL Tuesday #111

“Why do you do what you do?”

What Do I Do?

I solve problems. I build solutions using technology. I keep a small-medium business humming along with systems and infrastructure to support the growth that drives employee-owner shareholder value. The title that I’ve been dubbed is Director of IT, and I get to work with a great group of talented technologists and lead them as the application architect. My involvement with SQL Server is as a database developer and on bad days, a DBA.

Why do I do what I do?

Not to state the obvious, but I find my work incredibly intrinsicly rewarding. Having an impact on the improvement of someone’s workflow (developer), the company’s capabilities (architect), or even career (manager). With the breadth of my current role and my career to date, the growth stretch is the flame that keeps me excited and driven.


Even when the product isn’t coming together, I get a masochistic high from hammering it into a working solution. I started this blog not because I have a bunch of wisdom about SQL Server or other technology, but because I seem to go through bunch of problems and mistakes and I’d like to share what I learn with anyone who will listen.

It takes me about 30 minutes to go from “this is mildly inconvenient” to “I have a development concept that will eat my brain alive until I see if I can make it happen”. I love taking two disjointed services or notions and bringing them together into a coehesive solution. The technology skills that it takes to achieve this varies by the year – but SQL Server and Azure technologies tend to be my stomping grounds. Every day I find something new about development that I don’t know and it energizes me to know that the next problem I face might need a novel solution. That is my growth stretch.


When I left graduate school in 2011, I was enjoying teaching and had several part-time roles as a college instructor for science and technology courses. As an introvert, it was startling how much I enjoyed interacting with students. Even though the socialization at conferences can be overwhelming I truly enjoy giving talks and learning from all the experiences shared in the sessions. The symbiotic exchange of information leaves everyone with opportunities to improve their skillset.

Understanding a concept is one level of knowledge. Being able to explain the concept to others and listen to their questions (occasionally knowing the answer) is a whole other level of knowledge – and the one that I value most. This is my growth stretch.


I’m going to blur the lines between product management and people management – because of the quality that they share that attracts me to both of them – leadership. Leadership is a challenge for me, a challenge that requires more than technical skills and a challenge that has opened more doors. The handful of technical accomplishments I’ve had in the past few years are dwarfed by the expansion of my skills as a leader and manager.

As a manager of people I’ve gotten better at giving feedback, providing visibility to broader goals, and creating pathways to professional growth. As a product manager and business leader I’ve gotten better at coaxing beneficial conversations from stakeholders and executing on a tactical plan to reach my strategic vision. This is my growth stretch.

Why do I do what I do?

My career has afforded me the very rewarding feeling of being stretched to grow in multiple dimensions. The positive impact I can have on the company I work for, the careers of my teammates, and others in the technology communities is a reward that never gets old and only goads on my interest in growing more.