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Arnie Rowland

Discussion of issues related to SQL Server, the MSDN SQL Support Forums, the complex interplay between Developers and SQL Server Administrators, and our sometimes futile attempts to have a 'normal' life.

Rules of Holes #2: You Are Still in a Hole

OK. So you followed the First Rule of Holes -you stopped digging yourself in deeper.

But now what? You are still in a Hole. Your situation has not changed much, but at least you are no longer making it worse. You need to redirect the digging effort into escape and avoidance efforts. The Hole has a singular purpose -consuming all of your time and effort. AND it has succeeded! But now you are going to redirect your efforts for your own survival.

 You have encountered the Second Rule of Holes: When you stop digging, you’re still in the hole.

You need to look around, take stock of the situation. Try to understand how you got in the Hole. Learn from your previous digging. When did you first start feeling that you were in a Hole? What kept you from taking action on those feelings when they were fresh? Why did it take so long for you to decide to put the shovel down? Make notes to better provide yourself an early alarm the next time you start digging.

We can't help getting in Holes. Sometimes it happens because we were not paying attention to our direction. Sometimes we strayed from our path. Sometimes we blindly followed someone else into the Hole -or we were pushed.. And sometimes, it was just a matter of timing -the Hole opened up and swallowed us just as we came by.

If you are very, very lucky, the Hole is still relatively shallow. You just might be successful in scampering out on your own. But if you have been digging efficently, and not paying attention to your environment, you just may be in so deep that you cannot get out by yourself.

You have two equally important and separate tasks now. (1) You have to marshall the resources to get yourself out of this Hole, and (2), you need to assess how you got here so that you are better prepared to avoid the next Hole that comes along. Sometimes these are intertwined goals, such as learning new coding paradigms or techniques -useful for getting out of the current Hole as well as better avoiding furture Holes..

As you survey the situation, look around for resources to enlist in your effort to get out. Is there someone that can give you a hand? Or toss you a rope? Do you have a lifeline? Someone to reach out to and talk with? If you had a mentor, you could have leaned on her/his experience and perhaps you would not have blindly fallen into this Hole. Assess what you need to get out and stay out of Holes. Can you do that on your own, or do you need guidance? Maybe you will have to expand your network of contacts to have better resources to draw upon. Maybe, just maybe, someone is positioned to extend their hand to you and you couldn't see it while you were busily digging.

Stopping the digging was just the first step.

But you are still in the Hole. And will remain in the Hole until you decide to take further action.

(I am in the process of compiling a more complete list of 'Rules of Holes', and in upcoming weeks, I'll share them with you. And if you have developed your own 'Rules of Holes', i invite you to share them with us.)

Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 2:05 PM by ArnieRowland

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