T-SQL Tuesday #111 – What is Your Why?

Words: 752

Time to read: ~ 4 minutes

T-SQL Tuesday this month is hosted by Andy Leonard ( blog | twitter ) and he asks what is your why. What it is that makes you do what you do.

I’ve spent the best part of the day with this question rattling around in the back of my mind which is not helpful when you’re trying to troubleshoot problems with the left over cranial resources.

Now that I have a chance to sit down at my desk, crack open the laptop, and put methaphorical ink to paper I believe that I have some sort of an answer.

I don’t know.

There is something very appealing about being asked a question and being able to say a definitive answer to it. Yet none of the questions that I asked myself had definitive answers.

Q: Is it the joy of learning?

A: Sure. I like learning.

But there is embarassment in not knowing and a sense of dismay in realising you’ll never learn enough or know everything that you need to know.

Q: Well, is it because you find meaning in spreading information and teaching others.

A: Sure. I like teaching.

But it’s not mainly meaning that I get out of it, to be perfectly honest, a lot of the time it’s solace. There are sour, low points that everyone goes through that makes the high points in life all the sweeter. That doesn’t make the low points any less daunting. Spreading information, teaching others, and helping out are some of the most effective ways I’ve found to counteract these dull and grey valleys.

Q: Is your why databases? You love everything about them.

A: Sure. Databases are my first real IT infatuation

But I’m infatuated with a lot of different IT aspects. Any chance I get, you’ll find me discussing PowerShell with others, I’m trying to learn Python on the side, I’m an AWS user at work, a closet Azure user at home, and have a dream about bursting Azure out for work.

And yet…

Reading back on the above paragraphs I’ll admit that it comes across as slightly “doom and gloom”.

Yet I don’t want that to be the message here. I’m okay with not “finding myself” when I became a DBA and that being my reason why, mainly because I’m more a believer in “making yourself” than “finding yourself”.

Those points above that I mentioned are not my final say on the subjects.

I know that there is never an end goal with knowledge and learning. That doesn’t mean that there is no point in trying. It’s in striving and fighting for that impossible, never-ending goal that we become better out of it.

Even though meaning isn’t what I attain from spreading information and teaching, that doesn’t mean that the work does not have meaning. There are people I’ve interacted with and met who’s work deserves to be shared. People who have gotten relief from a seemingly unfixable problem or just a nudge in the right direction when they are fumbling for an answer in the dark. Just because I’m also helped in helping does not devalue any of its worth.

And as for being infatuated with other technologies, let me point out something real quick. The SQL Server community is very quickly becoming the Data community; DATA:Scotland, Data Grillen, etc. etc. The days of SQL Server as a data store only is, if not already gone, very soon finished. These other infatuations can be molded and melded together to reach a total greater than their original parts.

Case in point from the last conference I attended:

While this post doesn’t rain down fire and fury about the passion of my why, please don’t take from it that I am not passionate. If my why is not a wildfire, I consider it more as a molten magma. Slightly unknown but vast and inexorable.

And if words are not enough then actions may show differently.
It’s around 40 days into the New Year and I’ve already given my first presentation, booked 3 conferences, volunteered at another, come back from a SQL Saturday on the other side of Europe, and when I get a chance to finally sit down at the end of the day, I write out a blog post to join the rest of the SQL community bloggers.

I’m looking forward to reading theirs and how they can help put a sense of shape to mine.

So what is my Why?

I don’t know but I’m okay with that.

Reflections: 2018

What a Difference a Year Makes

Words: 665

Time to read: ~ 3 minutes

2018 has been a busy year.


Let’s talk blog numbers for a moment… They say a picture paints a thousand words so I’m going to keep the word count down.

That’s 42,680 views across 34,920 visitors. Now seeing as last year it was 11,079 views across 9,061 visitors and that’s a 285% increase…yeah I’m pretty damn happy with that!

2018 was the year that I started to get more and more into the PowerShell community so I’m happy that 3 out of the top 4 posts were about topics that merges both the SQL Server and PowerShell communities.

I’m not going to read into the fact that my post with the highest views of 2018 was about me being a fan-boy of the work of somebody else. Mainly because it’s awesome and I’m a fan-boy of the work of a lot of people.

As for the Passive voice post, well it annoyed me and I was so happy to find the answer that I had to blog about it. Thank you to a certain German Fashion magazine forum for continuously sending traffic my way because of it!


SQLBits, SQL Saturday Oslo, SQL Saturday Reading, PSDay UK, etc.

It’s probably been my busiest year with regard to travel. Combine this with my moving back to Ireland from London in June this year and I’ve now reached the age stage where I can’t fully remember where I’ve been.

To combat this, I’ve enabled Google Timelines to help keep track of where I’ve been. Here is what it’s shown me since July 2018.

The amount of information that I’ve been taught, the people that I’ve finally met face to face, the beauty of the places I’ve been definitely makes me want to keep the travel going into 2019!

Shout out to Drew Furgiuele ( blog | twitter ) who I didn’t manage to meet when we were both in SQL Saturday Oslo. We’ll have our coffee/alcohol/workout/handshake eventually!


While it has been a busy year for blogging, travelling, and meeting people it has come at a cost. One that I’ve only felt lately when I sat down and tried to a brief forward plan of the upcoming year.

I’ve been receiving an enormous amount of PowerShell help from the PowerShell community. They are extremely welcoming, open, and willing to aid knowledge seekers (so much so that I’m having a fun little argument with them about which community is more welcoming: PowerShell or SQL πŸ™‚ ).

Catching up with some SQL webinars and reading some of the SQL blogging community’s posts has shown me that I haven’t been keeping up to date with the SQL Server announcements and new technologies.

This is something that I am going to have to actively aim to rectify in 2019.


2018 was amazing for seeing a small subset of what someone can achieve with the technology out there in the world. To say that I’m bursting with ideas wouldn’t be far from the truth, thanks to a combination of procrastination and under-used time-management skills.

I’m going to be aiming to see if I can turn 2018, the year of ideas, into 2019, the year of actions.


Hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for 3 years but this will be the first reflection that I have done.

Overall I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished, learned, and realised with 2018. Yes, even the realisation that I need to increase my effort on SQL Server learning.

What get’s measured gets done!

Looking forward, I’m not quite sure what’s next. I’ve a couple of SQL Server and PowerShell days/conferences that I’m looking forward to. I suppose it’s time to stop reflecting and start planning.

To everyone who I’ve encountered in 2018, thank you.

To everyone who has encountered me in 2018, I’m sorry. I need more caffeine at the time.

To everyone I’m going to meet in 2019, looking forward to it!

Automating Conference Speaker Notifications

In case I, as a volunteer, fall asleep from lack of coffee πŸ™‚

Words: 367

Time to read: ~ 2 minutes

Link to script: https://github.com/shaneis/RandomScripts/commit/9d6967fa56a75342f00e5ddbcd066adc387f2618

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