Why You Should Apply (Take It From The New Guy)

SQL Server

Personal Benchmark

I’ve always thought that I’d know I have the right job when, if I were to win a dynastic sum of money from the lottery, or inherit it from a long-lost relative, I would still show up for work every day.

This is that job.

Seven months ago, when I saw that the Brent Ozar team was looking to expand, I said to my wife “hey, those people who sent us a Christmas card are hiring”. Her response was something along the lines of “will you still have to work every weekend?”

I haven’t had to work a single weekend. So if that’s your thing, you can probably stop reading. Weirdo.

It was a no-brainer for me. I love SQL, I love learning about technology in general, I love the style of the company, and growing up with a teacher for a mom had given me an itch to teach, just not to a room full of kids. Though sometimes a room full of developers isn’t too far off.

Erik at the company retreat
Erik at the company retreat

I kid, I kid! Developers are my people.

My special people.


Before applying, I thought to myself, “someone way more qualified than me is filling out the form right now, and I don’t stand a chance.”

Three interviews and some paperwork later, I was putting in my notice, and singing “I’ve got a golden ticket” while skipping home through the Financial District to our Chinatown apartment with a bag full of champagne. That’s about when I started paying attention to what color traffic lights are before crossing the street.

My point is, it’s not just about being someone who has memorized a bunch of know-it-all facts, who can recite them chapter and verse to a WebEx full of yawning stakeholders and tech people who fear for their jobs. It’s about being comfortable enough with your level of knowledge to be able to present facts to people in a way that will improve their situation.

Not everyone needs multiple secondary, geo-synchronous Availability Groups on FCIs, across every tectonic plate, replicated to secret underground bunkers on SANs the size of Rhode Island (or a real state).

To most people, SQL Server is still that shadow in the dark that makes them keep a bottle of hooch in their desk drawer. They just want their apps to work.

Cash 4 Brains

I had never had anyone senior to me when I was working with SQL in my previous jobs. I had bosses and managers, sure, but I was always a direct report. Needless to say, I wasted a lot of time dropping dumb bombs. I would have killed (figuratively, of course) for the opportunity to sit in a chat room with these people and be able to ask them questions. All day. Every day. With gifs. And custom emoji.

Well, you get the point. Even if you forget about the amazing benefits, becoming a cartoon, getting to work from home and all that, you get to show up to work and learn from some of the funniest, smartest, most down to earth people in the SQL community.

You’re probably wondering if there are any downsides.

Spoiler: you have to buy your own coffee.

Previous Post
We’re Hiring: SQL Server Triage Specialist (Remote Position)
Next Post
Scaling Up Our SQL Critical Care®

26 Comments. Leave new

  • I don’t know if I have the requisite level of sarcasm required.

  • What? Buy my own coffee? That is a major deal breaker!

  • “Before applying, I thought to myself, ‘someone way more qualified than me is filling out the form right now, and I don’t stand a chance.'”

    I had that thought too. And based on the great articles you’ve done already, it seems I was right. Great stuff, Erik.

  • If all explanations are done like this, I feel I’d fit right in!

  • Love the idea of being able to collaborate with some of the guys I have been following since my interest in SQL started. Great read about this and I hope for a chance to someday feel that way about a job!!

  • What weighs more: a pound of muscles or a pound of data?

  • Steve Mangiameli
    September 8, 2015 1:08 pm

    Eric, you seem a perfect fit! One day I will apply, one day. Until then, keep up the great work and articles so I have a more humerous way to learn than BOL.

  • How firm are you on the Junior DBA part? I love SQL Server problem solving and quick response to problem solving fixing issues but I am not a Junior. Did I read the req wrong?

    • Steve – I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking, but if you’re saying you’re a senior DBA, then nah, the numbers probably won’t work in a way that works out for everybody. If you’re saying you don’t feel qualified enough to be a junior DBA yet, then you should throw your hat in the ring and then let us figure out if you can pass the bar. 😀

  • You have to buy your own coffee?? Blasphemy…

  • Great post Erik, and if I hadn’t finally got a DBA job this would have overcome my fears and I’d already be applying. But considering today is my first day it might be too soon to apply elsewhere. 🙂 And I do work at a pretty great company right already.

  • Matthew Holloway
    September 8, 2015 4:57 pm

    Dog nammit..
    If you ever decide to expand your reach outside of the US this sounds like my dream job.

  • Nice read. I do have one question about the position they just announced and that is what are their thoughts on pets in the work place? Everyone has a dog or a cat so I wanted to mix it up a bit and I was thinking of a small pony.

    • Hmmm…. having one of the cats in the workplace… standing on the keyboard and then standing at the door looking at the handle to be let out – before standing on the other side looking at the door handle to come in about 4 minutes later, might be interesting and less stressful than dealing with bad developer code and irate clients 🙂 I suppose having a Staffie standing on your keyboard would be slightly worse.

      I, too, went from a position where I was the senior for a long time to a company here in Australia that is one of the premiers for SQL. I would equate it to being like going to the Ozaraporium (if you keep this term, I want brownie points towards an interview if this mob ever get sick of me 🙂 )

    • Jonathan – get a pony, paint it pink and call it a no-nicorn! I just feel sorry for your carpet

    • Jonathan – Kendra had a large rabbit for a while that was about the size of a small pony, so I think it’d work.

  • Once you go international then you’ll get an application from me – any plans ?

  • So passion it’s the key, everything related should fit in nicely, along the way.
    Spot on, Erik !

  • I once heard a Sys Admin tell me that every SQL DBA he’d met was akin to a long-bearded hermit living in a cave; stoic and devoid of personality, prone to grunt 1-3 word responses only if pressed. Upon hearing that I remember vowing that I would defy that stereotype with every professional interaction I had. After all, stoic was never who I was anyway! And along comes Brent Ozar et al., completely blowing that image out of the water, much to my delight, and probably establishing the most fun place to work in all of SQL-dom.

    Congrats on finding and scoring on this unique niche, Erik! And on a larger scale, thanks to Brent and company for helping to make this stuff fun!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.