I was talking to a DBA friend of mine, reminiscing about some of the hard lessons we learned early on in our career. The more we talked, the more we realized that there should probably be a one-page cheat-sheet that you’re required to read before you open SQL Server Management Studio.
1. The name of the job isn’t necessarily what it does. That “Backup All Databases” job probably doesn’t, and it probably has a shrink step in there for good measure.
2. A completed backup job doesn’t mean anything. Maybe the job isn’t set up to back up all of the databases. Maybe it’s a homegrown script that has a bug. Maybe it’s writing the backups to the very same drive where the databases live.
3. A lack of failure emails doesn’t mean success. It can also mean the failure emails stopped working, or they were being sent to a distribution list that has been deleted, or that the mail server is down, or that the email filter you set up the other day is wrong.
4. The last admin meant well. They weren’t incompetent, just overworked and undertrained.
5. Software vendors aren’t psychic. You can complain all you want about their crappy performance, but the reality is that your users might be using the software in a totally different way than anybody else. If you don’t give them clear, easy-to-understand performance data about query and index issues in your environment, they’re not going to be able to guess about it, much less fix it.
6. For maximum learning, you need peers and challenges. If you’re the only DBA in a shop, and you get your servers under control, you’re not going to grow. You need to tackle new challenges that you haven’t seen before, and you need outside opinions to challenge what you think you already know. You might be a big fish in a little pond today, but when you take a job in a bigger pond, be humble about what you think you know. You might be wildly incorrect.
What about you? What do you wish someone would have told you earlier?