A HAPPY RETIREMENT
January 1st, 2010 marked a very special day for me. It was the
first time in the past ten years in which I had no official PASS
responsibility at the HQ level. (I'm still serving in the local PASS
chapter here in Nashville, along with the awesomeness that is DrSQL (blog | twitter) and the whackness that is Joe Webb (blog | twitter).
We also have the irreplaceable Shelton Dickson and Roberto Lopez
helping us out). I also intend to stay active as a speaker for PASS.
I spoke at the PASS 2009 Summit, earning a top presenter
spot in the Professional Development track, and plan to speak there in
the future. And I'm also already booked for some upcoming Virtual
Chapter meetings as well as local PASS chapters and SQL Saturdays.
10 Years on the Job Takes Its Toll
have to admit that I've been surprised by the number of friends and
acquaintances who've asked if I'll miss it. Isn't it obvious? Ten
years of long hours with zero pay and a heavy burden on family time
don't rest easily on your shoulders. I'm sure that PASS' first two
presidents, Pam Smith and Guy Brown, can corroborate my story - except
that they've taken a solemn oath never to speak words that includes the
letters S, Q, and L in a single sentence. That makes it really hard to
ask their opinion on much of anything these days. The heinous nervous
twitch that spasmodically attacks their left and right eye,
respectively, whenever they hear the words "Micro" or "Soft" uttered
in the same conversation is also telling...
All joking aside, I'm honestly very happy to leave PASS in the hands
of the next generation of leaders. For more a much more in-depth
discussion about my years on the PASS board of directors, check out Brian Moran's interview for SQL Server Magazine here.
The enthusiasm and passion demonstrated by the young turks on the board
of directors will keep the organization in stead for many years to
come. I'm also very pleased with the new emphasis on
community-connectedness (thank you Twitter!)
and openness (thank you bloggers!) sweeping the community. It's
already produced much goodness within PASS, which I expect to see
multiplied many times over in the future.
A PARTING BOW
I was amazed and surprised when, during the keynote of Day 3, Bill Graziano called me on to the stage along with el presidente Wayne Snyder. PASS did an online postings in a few locations. The PASS Volunteers page spotlights my award under the PASSion Awards section. Then, on the PASSion Award page,
the award is the top featured article. This write-up includes a link to
the interview with Brian that I mentioned earlier. Funny story - I'd
been working in the PASS ready room on Day 2 of the Summit, feverishly
trying to improve my slide decks. At the exact same time, Bill and the
staff were also feverishly working on their slide deck a mere two seats
away - of the presentation to come on Day 3!
I had hair when I started this job. Just sayin'...
I don't care very much about how my slides look and would've caught
Bill red handed in his sly surprise. But today was different because
I'd seen two ominous portents of doom - a ferret consorting with a
chicken (on Cartoon Network) and a woolly caterpillar crossing the
threshold of the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center lobby. My keen
senses as an Oracle DBA kicked off an internal alarm that even 14 years
of SQL Serverness could not suppress - eminent disaster at the hands of
the demo gods was nigh. So once I got to the PASS ready room, I
equipped myself with several diet Mountain Dews, my favorite MP3 tunes
via massive ear-buds, and a bag of mixed nuts. Yes - I never knew, not
even for a second, that they were talking about me. Several hours later, as if waking from a daze, I realized that I didn't have any slide decks with demos. Clearly, Graziano had stronger juju than I. Next time, I'll directly divine the future using turtledove entrails
- as all good Oracle DBAs are trained to do - rather than rely on those
pathetic woolly caterpillars like MS-Access developers recommend. [All
elements of the preceding story concerning divination are a blatant
lie.] But I digress...
At the Day 3 keynote, Bill and Wayne surprised me by calling me to
the stage and presenting me with the biggest award I'd ever personally
seen. I was gobsmacked. On top of that, the attendees gave me a
standing ovation for receiving the "Lifetime Passion Award" (no
relation to Lifetime "TV for Women").
Again, I was taken aback. Wayne had, evidently, intended on giving me
the mic to say a few words. But because he was a bit choked up, he
left the stage a bit earlier than he meant and never handed the mic to
me. Good thing too - I would've blubbered like a baby.
A Special Word of Thanks
Honestly, I can't thank you enough for your kindness as a community.
I never got into PASS for any form of praise or profit. To have a hand
in the making of something bigger than me which reflected my own values
was all I ever hoped to achieve. And thank you again to all the
bloggers who had a kind word about the award as well:
This year was also a great year for photos like these. If you know of any other mentions about the award that day back in November 2009, please post a comment here.
With a grateful heart to call you all friends...