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2019 Life and Priority Tweaks

New year, new beginnings, new you, isn’t that what they usually say? For me, it’s more like pressing play after having paused everything during my Christmas break. I’m continuing my smaller life and priority tweaks instead of making big changes and resolutions :) But it is a new year. It’s going to be different than the last one. And the ones before that. (Like every year, really. Funny how that works.)

I don’t often write personal posts, but these life and priority tweaks might affect how active I will be in our community this year, so I felt like writing a little bit about why.

Life and Priority Tweaks - A Winter Sunrise

Oh, who am I trying to trick? I’m really only writing this so I could show off this picture of a pretty winter sunrise, taken from my parents’ house during Christmas :D

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Collecting Geeky Norwegian Humor (T-SQL Tuesday #99)

T-SQL Tuesday #99: Collecting Absurd Norwegian HumorT-SQL Tuesday #99 is hosted by Aaron Bertrand (@AaronBertrand) and the topic is Dealer’s Choice. What does that mean? Aaron wanted us to choose between two topics: write about something we are passionate about outside the SQL Server community, or write about T-SQL bad habits and best practices. I’m too afraid to argue with Aaron about T-SQL, so I chose the first option ;)

But what did I want to write about? Truth be told, I’m pretty boring. I don’t have any real hobbies outside of tech, just a few interests. I first considered writing about hiking. I need to disconnect completely once in a while, and my favorite way of doing that is to get sweaty while walking for hours up a mountain or waterfall. My Instagram (@cathrinesqueee) is my highlight reel, full of pictures and happy memories from my trips.

Some of my favorite hiking memories are: descending into Thrihnukagigur Volcano, eating lunch on top of the Rocky Mountains, relaxing at the Alluvial Fan, exploring the Garden of the Gods, climbing Seven Falls, overlooking the Norwegian fjords, driving across the never-ending Jotunheimen mountains, watching the fog roll in over Trollstigen, hiking Dinosaur Ridge, crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, taking a break on Mount Falcon, visiting the Loveland Pass, and gazing at presidents at Mount Rushmore.

Mads Eriksen MHowever, instead of embedding all the pictures that are already on Instagram, I decided to write about something completely different. Something obscure. Something fun and geeky from way before I got involved in the SQL Server community. Something from my good old teenage fangirling days…

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Dealing with Disappointment and Learning from Failures

I have written posts in the past about how to deal with technical failures as a speaker: Be prepared. Have backups of your files. Take screenshots or videos of your demos. Rehearse presenting your session with and without your slide deck. I have made plenty of I-wasn’t-prepared-for-that mistakes in the past, and I learned from them.

Last weekend was different. I was supposed to do a precon and a session at SQLSaturday Nashville. I didn’t experience any technical failures. I experienced what felt very much like personal failures.

On Friday, our precon got canceled due to weather.

On Saturday, no one showed up to my session.

I had not prepared for either of those things to happen, and I definitely had not prepared for both of those things to happen on the same weekend. I went through a whole range of emotions in a short amount of time, from embarrassment to disappointment to amusement.

Since then, I have debated with myself about whether or not to write this blog post. I have written and re-written it several times. I did not want to write a blog post full of whining and complaining, but I did want to share my experience as a reminder to both myself and others that:

  • These things happen. It’s ok to feel disappointed, but don’t let it stop you from trying again.
  • There is always something positive to take away from a negative experience.
  • Life is full of ups and downs. Social media (especially my own) often focus on the ups, but life is not amazing all the time.

If you only needed a few reminders, feel free to stop reading here :) The rest of the post is quite long and a little more like a journal entry, really.

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My Learning Goals for 2018 (T-SQL Tuesday #97)

T-SQL Tuesday #97 - Setting Learning Goals for 2018T-SQL Tuesday #97 is hosted by Mala Mahadevan (@sqlmal), and the topic is Setting Learning Goals for 2018. Mala wants to know what we want to learn, how and when we want to learn, and how we plan to improve on what we have learned.

It’s always hard to predict what I need to learn in an upcoming year, but 2018 is particularly difficult to predict. Why? Because at the time I’m writing this, I currently don’t have a job :) I finished my previous job last week, and I’m taking the rest of December off. Then in January, a new adventure awaits. I just don’t know what yet! So in this post, I’ll focus on some wants instead. I have picked three main goals: one technical, one personal, and one professional.

I will revisit this post next December and see how things turned out. It will be interesting! :)

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From PASS Community Evangelist to Community Volunteer

From PASS Community Evangelist to Community VolunteerIn November 2016, I started working as the PASS Community Evangelist. My year at PASS has been amazing and challenging at the same time. I’m thankful I got the opportunity to grow professionally and personally, I’m so proud of all the SQLSaturday organizers I have worked with, and I have really enjoyed getting to know the community better. It has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

However, I have and always will be a geek :) I love learning new technologies, solving problems and developing solutions. Because of that, I have decided to go back to a technical role. You can read more about my decision in my PASS blog post Shifting Back From Community Evangelist to Community Volunteer.

Over the past year, I have met more talented and passionate volunteers in the community than I can count. From SQLSaturday Organizers to Regional Mentors, Local and Virtual Group Leaders, on-site volunteers, speakers, and all the way up to the PASS Board of Directors.

These volunteers are the heart and soul of PASS. Every day, at user group meetings and events, in private conversations and during work lunches, they share their knowledge and help others connect. They don’t just talk about what PASS is, they are PASS.

Because we have this amazing, growing, global community full of passionate volunteers, it made it a little easier for me to step down from my role as the PASS Community Evangelist. Instead of having just one person in this role, I hope to see community volunteers (especially Regional Mentors) getting more involved in some of the tasks I have been doing: mentoring new SQLSaturday organizers, identifying new areas where PASS can grow, working with PASS HQ and the Board of Directors on community initiatives, and representing PASS at events all over the world.

You won’t get rid of me that easily, though! I will still be involved in the community as an active volunteer :)

I’m now looking forward to going back to a technical role and getting hands-on experience developing solutions again, hopefully combined with some blogging, speaking and teaching. Where? I don’t know yet :) I will be spending the next couple of months looking for new opportunities and deciding what’s next for me. I will also take a few weeks off during Christmas to spend time with my family.

My last day with PASS will be Friday, December 8th. I’m looking forward to watching PASS grow even more in 2018 – just from the other side again :) But before then, I hope to see you all at PASS Summit 2017!