At the 2009 PASS Community Summit, I have gotten the opportunity to talk to many DBAs, and to find out about what it is like to work for their organizations. In my book, How to Become an Exceptional DBA, and in many of my presentations, I highly recommend DBAs get as much training as they can so that they can stay at the top of their game; and to also get involved in the SQL Server Community as much as possible, such as posting in forums, speaking at user group meetings, writing articles, blogging, or whatever most interests them. I feel these two activities, among many others, can help enhance one’s career.
Today, at the PASS Summit, I had two discussions with DBAs that left me a little sad. One DBA, who was really interested in sharing his knowledge of SQL Server with others, told me that his company banned him from doing anything outside of work, including speaking at his user’s group, participating in forums, or getting involved with the SQL Server Community at all. The company was afraid of any potential liability they may have if one of their employees might say or do anything politically incorrect.
In another conversation, a DBA told me that they had the opportunity for three days of free SQL Server training, but the DBA’s organization would not let the DBA off from work to attend it. The DBA even offered to take the time off without pay, but the organization still said no. The DBA was told that if they made an exception, that other employees of the company would also want to follow suit and take off days without pay for training, and that would be a problem for the organization.
This is a terrible attitude for employers to have. Organizations need to support their employees in their career development, not hinder it. Unfortunately, these DBAs have no choice but to cooperate, or to look for another job. In fact, each of these DBAs told me that they were looking for a new job, and I wish them the best of luck.
If there is any lesson to be learned from these two DBA’s experience, is that when you are interviewing for a new job, be sure you find out what the organization’s policies are for training and career development. If you discover an organization won’t support your career, then you need to keep on looking, until you find an organization that believes in cultivating its employees.
If you have had a similar negative experience with an organization that doesn’t support its employees, please share your story with us (anonymously, of course).