It’s been a remarkable year for me; without a doubt the best year of my career (ever). I was fortunate enough to be invited to give presentations on Tableau and SQL Server in Canada, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Michigan. I delivered 16 presentations this year (for a total of 27 since my first talk in January of 2010). I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a speaker this year. I have yet to get a full night of sleep before a presentation; I’m hoping next year I can make that happen!
2011 was the year I started working for Interworks. Working for Interworks has been the single best working experience of my life. I’ve always believed that the only way to grow as a professional is to surround yourself with people that are better than you. I crave the sort of challenge I get from working with the best of the best. I’ve found that team at Interworks.
I try to learn something from everyone I encounter. I look for mentors everywhere. This year I learned the most from three members of my team.
Dan Murray (Twitter) taught me how to look at problems with the eyes of a disruptor. Look for opportunities to disrupt the status quo. Don’t be afraid to ask ‘Why are you doing it that way’; don’t be afraid to say that there’s a better way. I’ll let you in on a secret about my team, we’re all disruptors and we’re led by an anarchist (Dan). Sounds crazy, but it works.
Brian Bickell’s (Twitter) tagline on twitter is ‘Hide your bad data and screwed up processes, I’m the bad guy with the flashlight.’ This year Brian taught me to grab a flashlight in one hand, a keyboard in the other and dive into the dark places where the bad SQL goes to hide. Working with Brian has reminded me how much I love problem solving.
The member of my team that’s surprised me the most has been Ben Bausili (Twitter). Ben is the most creative problem solver on our team. He’s come up with solutions that astound me. When I get stuck, I go to Ben. His solutions are clean, simple … elegant. In a world of complicated problems, preconceptions and arbitrary limits Ben cuts through the crap and finds the simple answers. I’m still trying to learn that trick.
This year I’ve learned the difference between contracting and consulting (brother, there are a LOT of differences). I’ve worked with clients in health care, government and education. I’ve worked with mega huge companies and very small mom and pop shops. I’ve learned how to work from home (a first for me) and how to work on the road (another first). I’ve never worked harder in my life and I’ve never been happier with my work.
Next year I hope to learn more, do more, and be more. I want to lose some weight and spend some more time with my kids. I want to be a better husband for my wife. I want to keep loving what I do every day. I hope for the same for you.