The best career advice I ever received (T-SQL Tuesday #163)

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Gethyn Ellis who asked about best career advice we’ve ever received.

My career has been quite long, so I got quite a few different tips over the years. Those that stuck with the most are “Don’t overthink it

No one cares that you made a mistake,
so don’t overthink it.

As long as you don’t drop a production database :-)

Nothing ever happens at first try. But I’m still guilty of it. I often don’t do things because they’re either not good enough or I haven’t had enough time to prepare to make something perfect. For example, I don’t blog often becuase I have not got enough time to make the post perfect. And a perfect post should technically be a 1000 pages book. Or I don’t do too many presentations because I haven’t got the time to make it perfect, engaging and educating. And at the same time, I don’t give myself enough practice. Space X didn’t land at the first try either.

In reality, everyone has their own lives to get on with and they’re not going to care too much about what we do in general. Plus, we can’t make everyone happy so no matter how perfect we do something, there’s always someone who is not going to like it. On the other hand, the other person doesn’t know how perfect something could have been and most likely, even if what we do is not perfect, it could still help them and they could still benefit from it. Even if we make a mistake, in a worst-case scenario, it’s very unlikely that it will haunt us for the rest of our lives, and we can only learn from mistakes.

But seriously, don’t drop production databases.

There is always someone better,
so don’t overthink it.

We techies like to judge our own skills by looking at others. And by others, I mean usually those who know more than we do. We realise how difficult the technology can be, and we’re strangely good at knowing what we don’t know. The imposter syndrome makes focus on what we don’t know rather than what we know and how good we are at what we do. However, technical abilities are not everything, it is important what kind of person we are and how well we work with others.

We’re all going to die anyway,
so don’t overthink it.

This is deep and sad, but we must go deep to find the true meaning. At the end of my life, I would hate to say, “I wish I tried this and that”. I would love to say, “I tried this and that and it worked out well for me” but I will still be happy if I can say, “I tried it, it didn’t work out, but I tried”.

It took me years to start my blog because at that point, everything had already been blogged about and I did not have anything new to add. With this logic, we’d still be driving Ford Model-T’s because why would Mercedes-Benz produce their own vehicle if Ford already made one? It’s all about variety and… no one really cares what you do – you want to do something then do it.

Enjoy life, do what you love, be good and don’t overthink
…and don’t drop production databases.

By the way, I’m still really bad at overthinking a lot!

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Posted by
Marcin Gminski
June 20, 2023

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