Two weeks ago Paul Randal started a chain blog series on What three events brought you here? He tagged Brent Ozar, who in turn tagged me in his post You may ask yourself, How did I get here? So here’s my own take on this topic.
Event #1: I spent a year deployed in Iraq…
My events that lead me to where I currently am in life start much later than most peoples. For me I’d say the biggest event that changed my direction in life was being deployed with the Army Reserves in early 2003 to Iraq. Being forward deployed in a combat zone is always a life changing event, sometimes good, sometimes bad. For me being deployed to Iraq was an amazing opportunity and became a major stepping stone in my current position in life.
Combat Zones are also tax exclusion zones, and when I mobilized I was single, and therefore had no real expenses in life. This allowed me to save almost every dollar I made while deployed. However, unlike most young kids that return from being deployed, I didn’t run out to buy a new car, add a loud stereo to it, and hook it up with some 20’s. Instead during my first six months in Iraq I played email tag with an admissions advisor at the University of Florida and got admitted to school to continue working on my bachelors upon return from my tour of duty overseas.
Event #2: I got married and my wife got accepted to grad school…
Fast forward two and a half years and I am now married for just over a year and a new father to boot. My wife and I both had plans to attend graduate school. She planned to continue and work towards her doctorate in Psychology, and I planned to apply to and attend Medical school to get my MD. However, one of the funny parts of life is that plans are subject to change in a moments notice. Our first child, my now 3.5 year old daughter, was never a part of our plans, but the best things in life sometimes happen by accident.
When I asked my father-in-law for permission to marry his daughter, the one thing I promised was that she would finish graduate school, no matter what. Just over a year later I found myself defending our decision for my wife to continue her education and attend graduate school despite having a newborn baby to my father-in-law. Again its really funny the way things work out. My wife and I had debated about whether or not to continue our schooling, and the end result of those decisions was that I would continue to work in Database Development and she would go back to school, and then we would switch roles.
Part of this plan was based on her getting into school at the University of Florida, not her first choice, she is after all a die hard Seminole, but you work with what you’ve got sometimes. In the end she was accepted into a program in Tampa, FL which meant that I would either telecommute for the company I was currently working for, or I had to find a new job in Tampa. After being passed over for a promotion at my job, I opted to look for a new one which lead me to my first gig as a full time Database Administrator.
Event #3: I asked a question on the MSDN Forums…
Fast forward another year, and was stumped on a problem that had popped up on my own custom reindexing script in SQL Server 2005. After a few weeks trying to figure it out, I turned to the MSDN Forums and posted my first question ever: Reorganizing/Rebuilding Index Results in more Fragmentation? While I was on the site, I read a couple of the other questions that existed and found that I knew the answer to a few of them, so I posted some quick responses. I also found a couple of questions that I didn’t know anything about and learned a couple of new things along the way.
Now if that was where the story ended, it would be great, but the next morning I woke up and found that some people I had answered the night before had posted follow up questions which brought me back to the forums to once again respond to those questions and once again, while I was there I picked up a few more questions I knew the answers to and posted some responses, and once again I got to read a few questions that I had no idea about and learned a couple of things. I don’t know exactly when it happened, it was probably the first time I got a followup question but I was hooked and the forums quickly became like Crack for me.
About three months later I was engaged by Arnie Rowland on a thread about tracing and auditing in SQL Server where I was asked to join a new email list for Moderators, Answerers, and MVP’s that participated in the forums. This was a great doorway to meeting and interacting with some of the best people I know in the business, Joe Webb, Arnie Rowland, Geoff Hiten, Alejandro Mesa, Sankar Reddy, Deepak Rangarajan, and Louis Davidson (whom I attempted and failed a number of times to debate database design topics with before I knew who he was and how much he knows) to name a few, and I now consider a number of them to be friends, in the truest meaning of the word.
Life sometimes has great things for us that aren’t necessarily what we plan for. I never could have foreseen being where I am in the SQL Server industry six years ago when I first got my start.
Since I am so far behind the crowd on this one, I am not going to call anyone specifically out. However, if you weren’t called out, consider this your call out and post a blog post about your three events. Link back to here or post a comment with a link to your post and I’ll make sure to read it.