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.
I 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!
Normally, 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:
- Sean and Jenn McGown – (blog | twitter)
- AaronBertrand – (blog | twitter)
- Jack Corbet – (blog | twitter)
- Kendal Van Dyke – (blog | twitter)
- Great photos from Pat Wright – (blog | twitter)
- Todd McDermid – (blog | twitter)
- Steve Jones – (blog | twitter)
- Andy Warren – (blog | twitter) and here.
- Grant Fritchey – (blog | twitter) and here.
- Brian Egler at Network World also mentioned it here.
With a grateful heart to call you all friends…