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Rob Farley

- Owner/Principal with LobsterPot Solutions (a MS Gold Partner consulting firm), Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft MVP (SQL Server), APS/PDW trainer and leader of the SQL User Group in Adelaide, Australia. Rob is a former director of PASS, and runs training courses around the world in SQL Server and BI topics.

Nepotism In The SQL Family

There’s a bunch of sayings about nepotism. It’s unpopular, unless you’re the family member who is getting the opportunity.

But of course, so much in life (and career) is about who you know.

From the perspective of the person who doesn’t get promoted (when the family member is), nepotism is simply unfair; even more so when the promoted one seems less than qualified, or incompetent in some way. We definitely get a bit miffed about that.

But let’s also look at it from the other side of the fence – the person who did the promoting. To them, their son/daughter/nephew/whoever is just another candidate, but one in whom they have more faith. They’ve spent longer getting to know that person. They know their weaknesses and their strengths, and have seen them in all kinds of situations. They expect them to stay around in the company longer. And yes, they may have plans for that person to inherit one day. Sure, they have a vested interest, because they’d like their family members to have strong careers, but it’s not just about that – it’s often best for the company as well.

I’m not announcing that the next LobsterPot employee is one of my sons (although I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of getting them involved), but actually, admitting that almost all the LobsterPot employees are SQLFamily members… …which makes this post good for T-SQL Tuesday, this month hosted by Jeffrey Verheul (@DevJef).TSQL2sDay150x150

You see, SQLFamily is the concept that the people in the SQL Server community are close. We have something in common that goes beyond ordinary friendship. We might only see each other a few times a year, at events like the PASS Summit and SQLSaturdays, but the bonds that are formed are strong, going far beyond typical professional relationships.

And these are the people that I am prepared to hire. People that I have got to know. I get to know their skill level, how well they explain things, how confident people are in their expertise, and what their values are. Of course there people that I wouldn’t hire, but I’m a lot more comfortable hiring someone that I’ve already developed a feel for. I need to trust the LobsterPot brand to people, and that means they need to have a similar value system to me. They need to have a passion for helping people and doing what they can to make a difference. Above all, they need to have integrity.

Therefore, I believe in nepotism. All the people I’ve hired so far are people from the SQL community. I don’t know whether I’ll always be able to hire that way, but I have no qualms admitting that the things I look for in an employee are things that I can recognise best in those that are referred to as SQLFamily.

…like Ted Krueger (@onpnt), LobsterPot’s newest employee and the guy who is representing our brand in America. I’m completely proud of this guy. He’s everything I want in an employee. He’s an experienced consultant (even wrote a book on it!), loving husband and father, genuine expert, and incredibly respected by his peers.

It’s not favouritism, it’s just choosing someone I’ve been interviewing for years.

@rob_farley

Published Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:43 AM by Rob Farley

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Comments

 

RichB said:

Justify it all you want... just don't be surprised when it starts to shrink into itself.

August 13, 2014 5:51 AM
 

Ted Krueger said:

Could you expand on what you mean there, RichB?

August 13, 2014 9:57 AM
 

Adam Machanic said:

Nice headline but of course "SQLFamily" isn't a family. It's a networking thing. So this isn't nepotism at all; it's just good business. Nothing wrong with that, no matter how you slice it.

August 13, 2014 11:39 AM
 

Rob Farley said:

Adam - exactly. It's an open group and preferring people with a strong sense of community is by no means the same as hiring your nephew.

August 13, 2014 4:02 PM
 

Justin said:

cute, but somewhat disingenuous to the real problem of nepotism. People aren't born into the SQL community. They don't inherit SQL cred from their brother - every bit of that is earned, which is the antithesis to  nepotism.

Hire the most qualified. Go for it. If it's your brother, great. I doubt it really is though.

August 15, 2014 10:50 AM
 

Oddvar Eikli said:

Loved your punchline, Rob!

August 17, 2014 6:57 PM
 

Rob Farley said:

Justin - yes, I'm being somewhat flippant about the times when nepotism is a problem. I've seen it many times in many different situations, and never (I think) benefited from it. But I've also reflected on some situations over the years and figured that often those people were probably the best choice, because the hiring manager had stronger confidence in the underlying character of the relative.

I definitely don't believe in nepotism when good people are passed over for incompetent relatives. However, I also recognise that hiring is at least 50% relationship. We hire those people we feel we can work with rather than hiring the most qualified. With Ted, I get the best of both worlds.

August 17, 2014 7:41 PM
 

Gary Schultz said:

It is not so much what you know or who you know, but who knows YOU.  

August 23, 2014 8:04 PM
 

Rob Farley said:

Indeed - the relationship must go both ways.

August 24, 2014 12:33 AM

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