Paul Randal recently blogged about three life-changing events that brought him to where he is today. His blog is a very interesting read and idea, and so I bring to you my three events that brought me to where I am today in my technical career as a SQL Server DBA.
Right out of high school and during the first two years of college, I worked as a student worker for the District Attorney's Office at the County of San Diego performing data entry and other forgettable tasks. During this job, I worked with a previous classmate whose mom worked in another division at the County of San Diego. It was communicated to her mom that I was interested in a technical career. The mom was able to get an interview for me with the DBA team in the Information Services division at the County of San Diego. The position was only as a student worker, but it was a technical position so I jumped at the opportunity when the job was offered to me. I remained a student worker in the DBA team until I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with emphasis in Computer Science. I was then hired full-time to be a Junior DBA in the same group.
I remained a Junior DBA until the IT department was outsourced to Computer Sciences Corporation. This is the second significant event. Rather than take the generous severance package that was offered to any employees who did not wish to be part of the outsourcing, I decided to instead transfer to CSC as an Intermediate DBA. CSC was located in San Diego, so I didn't need to move or commute far away. At CSC, I met my husband which is a very significant event in my life but not relevant to this blog.
After about two years at CSC, I was so unhappy with my management that it drove me to find another job. I had been interviewing for about six months without any success when I happened to be at an interview and saw a former co-worker there. It turns out that I was interviewing for his position which he had already vacated (he was just there visiting and picking up some of his things). I surely wasn't qualified for the position, but this chance encounter is the third significant event. He contacted me a few weeks later and let me know of a DBA position that had opened up in his group at the new company, Qualcomm Incorporated. I interviewed for it a few days later. Although they were looking for a Senior DBA, my former co-worker decided to take a chance with me since he had mentored me at the County of San Diego and was aware of my possibilities. They hired me as an Intermediate DBA. The rest is history.
I have been at Qualcomm for 8 years and love every minute of it. I am now a Staff DBA (one level higher than Senior). My mentor still works at the same company as me, however he has moved on to other things. I am eternally grateful to him for all of the things that I learned and for taking a chance when there were more seasoned candidates interviewing for the position.
If it weren't for my former classmate's mom landing me an interview for a student worker position in the DBA team, I don't know where I would be in my technical career. I suppose I would have eventually made it into a DBA position since the skills match me perfectly, but it probably would have been a long journey to get there.
If it weren't for transferring to the new company during the IT outsourcing, I may never have ended up at my current company where I absolutely love my job. I also wouldn't have met my husband.
And finally if it weren't for my mentor and former co-worker, I wouldn't be where I am today. I owe my career to him. Hopefully he accepts my gratitude instead of a monetary gift, haha!