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.
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! :)
In 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!
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!
It’s November, and that means I’m now officially a PASS employee! Yep, that’s right, I will be taking over as the PASS Community Evangelist after the wonderful Karla Landrum (@KarlaKay22). And to tell you the truth, it’s both extremely terrifying and super exciting at the same time :)
Many of you heard the news at PASS Summit 2016 after we announced it during the SQLSaturday organizers meeting, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who congratulated me afterwards. You are the community, and it truly means a lot to me to hear that you think I’m the right person for this role.
Why did you accept the job as a Community Evangelist?
My family and best friends in the community weren’t surprised when I told them :) The PASS and SQL Server community has been such an important part of my life for the past three years. Getting involved has literally changed my life. At my first PASS Summit in 2013 I was a shy, socially awkward person who was terrified of talking to people. At PASS Summit 2016 I was a speaker presenting two regular sessions and a lightning talk, and my favorite part of it all was getting to know lots of amazing new people. Volunteering in this community has given me so much, and this is my chance to give something back.
Does that mean you won’t be working in tech anymore?
Well, yes. I won’t work as a consultant or architect or developer and I won’t get hands-on experience with projects and clients. This is a full-time community job. I’m sure I will miss working in tech, but I will try to keep up with everything that’s going on in the Microsoft Data Platform world at events and on weekends. (Because, you know, once a geek, always a geek!)
What will you do as a Community Evangelist?
Support regional mentors, chapter leaders and SQLSaturday organizers, and look for opportunities to establish new chapters and SQLSaturdays. I will also be administering the SQLSaturdays and help events go live, blog, monitor social media, and work with the PASS Board of Directors and PASS Headquarters to support global growth.
Will you continue speaking and blogging?
Part of my job as a Community Evangelist is to share everything that PASS has to offer and opportunities for volunteering, especially at events where people are new to the PASS community. That means I will still be speaking, but I will be speaking as a PASS representative, for example doing lunch sessions at SQLSaturdays. However, I will no longer be submitting to speak at PASS events like I used to. I will definitely still be blogging, and I hope that I actually may get back to blogging more regularly – especially when my fingers start itching to get some hands-on experience with Biml and SQL Server again :)
WHAT WILL WE DO WITHOUT KARLA!?
PANIC! No, hopefully not :) Karla has been a fantastic Community Evangelist and I know people all around the world will miss her terribly! We have started the onboarding and handover process, and we will be working together for a couple of weeks so I can learn as much as possible about the job from her. While I know I won’t be able to fill Karla’s shoes, I promise I will do my absolute best for this community!
This is all you, #SQLFamily. You’re the heart and soul of PASS, just continue doing amazing things for your local communities and I will do what I can in this new role to support you. This is already the best community in the world, let’s make it even better in the next couple of years! :)
Right now, as I write this, I’m between jobs. Earlier today I finished my last day as an in-house data warehouse solutions architect and business intelligence developer. Tomorrow I’m starting my new job as a technical architect in a consulting company. It’s sad to say goodbye to wonderful coworkers, but it’s also very exciting (and scary!) to start a new chapter in my life.