This week in honor of Valentine’s Day and TSQL Tuesday, Relationships Edition, we’re talking relationships. First off, let’s start with comic from The Oatmeal, “The Three Phases of Owning a Computer“. The three phases are: The Honeymoon, The comfortable phase, and Behold, the dinosaur. I love this comic because it’s a beautiful illustration that relationships with many things – computers, cars, people, and in the case of this blog post, jobs – all follow similar patterns. “How,” you say? Well, let’s walk through one of your past relationships.
First, of course, you meet. You’re instantly attracted – maybe this gig has one SEXY bonus structure, or a really firm project plan. You make inquiries, maybe talk a little, and wow…you two even like the same things! You get to know each other, you’re hired…boom, you’re in a committed relationship!
The early days of a job are wonderful. You go to new places, meet new people, get to know the rhythm of things. You get presents…a new computer! A backpack! A desk! A Blackberry!! Wow, you’re the best, baby! It seems like those around you are friendly and intelligent, and anything is possible. Together you’ll move mountains!
Getting to Know You
Slowly, as you tell each other your stories and spend time together, oh so slowly, you begin to see each other’s little faults. That’s really endearing at first. “Oh, sweetie, your dev environment is weak and slow? That’s okay, we’ll make it work.” Over time, little things become irritating, but that’s just part of a normal relationship. “What do you mean you don’t do code reviews? And you let the .NET guys architect the database? That might be a problem, but let’s not fight…I love you.”
If you’re not meant to be together, things can start to get ugly. One of you starts trying to change the other. “I noticed you were looking a little bit bored lately with these same admin tasks, and I thought it might help us if we watch some training videos together…” Or maybe, “Look, I know you’ve always used SA/password for everything, but you CAN’T go on living like that. It’s unhealthy!” Fights begin.
You’ve both put a lot into this relationship, and you can’t believe it’s really that bad. Maybe a little time apart would help, a little vacation. Maybe you need to spend MORE time together and try get back in sync. This is true love, after all.
If nothing works, you grow farther apart, and one day you realize that nearly everything about this place bothers you. That godawful way they say “synergize your thinking out of the box”, the endless prattle about restructuring, the procrastination…you just can’t take it any more!
Finally, the realization comes: It’s over. You prepare yourself emotionally (and if you’re smart, physically, by moving your things out of harm’s way, saving off your personal code vault, and taking your stuffed Yoda home). So you set a time and place to inform the other party. You get nervous. You think of JUST the right wording, what you want to say is the reason. Should you go with “it’s not you, it’s me”? Or “let’s just be friends”? What if you’re leaving because you found something better? For god’s sake, don’t compare…no one wants to hear “Oh man, you should SEE their boomin’ data center!!”
And they may well react like a jilted lover. There’s anger: “How could you leave us so close to our deadline??” Bartering: “We’ll do better, we’ll put those new processes in place next month, and let me see if I can get you a raise.” And the rare but simple acceptance: “We’re sorry to see you go, good luck.”
Of course, this is assuming you’re the one breaking up. It’s a little different when your love leaves you, especially if you thought you were getting along so well. And like you, your company may have any one of a myriad of reasons for breaking your heart. There’s logistics: “We can’t afford to move you/pay you in the next quarter, it’s just not meant to be.” There’s the growing apart: “It was so good back in the early days, but I’ve changed, you’ve changed, and it’s just not working any more.” And there’s jealousy: “We saw your post on Monster.com, and I can’t believe you’re out trolling for other gigs. Get out, you hussy! And take that stupid bobble head with you!”
How do you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from falling down? Get back up on that horse! If you lose your love, of course there will be a time for grieving. But if you wallow, there’s no way any new company will find you attractive. So after a short respite, stand up, dust yourself off, look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, companies like me!” Trust me, Mr or Mrs Right Job is out there, and waiting for their DBA in shining armor.
For more on letting your ex-job down gently (or not), see our DBAs@Midnight videos “Breaking up with your Boss”.
-Jen “Lonely Heaps” McCown