Maintaining Balance

Last week, I got the chance to give my I’m It Survival Tips for the Lone DBA  in a webcast for the first time thanks to the PASS Women in Technology Virtual Chapter. This is by far my favorite session to give because it’s real life and can pertain to all us. Whether you are a Lone DBA or part of a team, we all encounter the struggles when handling a heavy work load. I always love the interactions I get from this session. It allows us to share our stories and learn from each other.

As a Lone DBA you are on call 24/7. You are required to stop everything and fix things when things go wrong. One of the hardest parts of the job is maintaining a balance and making sure it doesn’t interfere with you family life. I had one listener this week comment that “this doesn’t work with families”, implying that you cannot manage being a lone dba and be a parent at the same time.

This struck a chord for me. I understand what they were saying, and I know a lot of people that struggle with managing work and home no matter what career they are in.  However, I fully beg to differ. As a single mom, I was not only a Lone DBA, I ran my local user group, was a Regional Mentor, a speaker, blogger, Microsoft MVP and a very involved Dance Mom for my two girls. Not only that, but I maintained the household and all that it entailed. Most of all, I loved every minute of it. It can be done, believe me. My girls still got\get a lot of my time. I play with them, do homework with them and all the normal non-working mom stuff. I think your ability to balance it all is a great example to set for them as show them what you’re capable of.

I believe it’s all about time management, prioritizing and keeping a positive attitude. For example, while my daughters were at dance or outside playing, I would utilize that time to work. I would also allot enough time in the morning schedule to fix issues before waking them up.  This allowed for a less chaotic morning when problems arose that required immediate attention. But the most important piece is having flexibly in your job. Working with your boss to make sure they allow you to work from home from time to time and for you leave work early to attend your kid’s activities. Lone dba’s give so many hours after normal work hours that you need to maintain a balance and work with your boss to gain an understanding of that. All of these things made a huge difference in keeping balance.

Once people start feeling negatively about it, the stress invades the home and makes it more difficult for everyone. In my session, I go over ways to mitigate challenges like these as well as how to manage company’s expectations of you.

I invite those who haven’t attended my session to check out the webcast and share your thoughts. I love getting feedback and hearing other stories.

4 thoughts on “Maintaining Balance

  1. Thanks for the post and sharing some of those tips. In my own experiences after working for many years in a challenging BI/DB/DW consulting role one thing I learnt pretty hard was that the very concept of “Work-Life-Balance” is in fact self medicated. Many companies nowdays talk to this concept but rarely proactively practice it – ie. I’d get questions when my timesheet had 39.50h, but never when it had 77.00h. As IT professionals companies expect you to adjust and find that balance yourself between what works for you and them.

  2. Hey Monica. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m a working mom and 45% DBA, the other time I spent working on data and ETLs, I love it. Even though I have the help of my husband, I do feel at times that I run out of gas and that I do everything half way well done, home and work. It does help out to know there is someone out there that can put herself in my shoes and understands me. Thank you for article.

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