Another SQLSaturday has come and gone. This one in Philadelphia. I had actually been to this location twice before for SQL Server User Group meetings. I have a client in the area, so sometimes my schedule syncs up and I manage to get in some time with the Philly SQL Server User Group. It’s free, and it’s always a good way to learn something new.

Several months ago there were several memes going around on the Internet about how much money it cost to rescue Matt Damon from various places (WWII Europe, from beyond a black hole, from Mars). Today I caught a clip of a deleted scene from The Martian where his character talks about how much was spent to rescue one person.

It comes down to the fact that humans are social creatures and we like being part of a community. Sometimes I stop and think about the communities I’m in and how they overlap or don’t overlap.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m an instructor with the National Cave Rescue Commission. I’m also the Northeast Regional Coordinator for said organization. We technically don’t rescue folks, we teach folks to rescue people. We do it because the people who are best suited to rescue cavers are other cavers.  We do it because we know that someday there will be someone stuck or injured or lost in a cave and they may need our help. And we do it because we know that person might be us.  And if we’re not willing to help others, who will help us?

The other community on my mind today is the SQLSaturday community. Sure, we’re generally not dealing with live or death decisions and I can’t think of the last time someone’s life was on the line as I was doing work as a  DBA. But the concept is still the same.  We’re only as good as the community. Sure, there are some brilliant DBAs out there. There are some folks who speak T-SQL more fluently than many of us speak our native language. But ultimately, even they often will rely on the knowledge of others because there’s simply too much to know about this platform. So we come together and share.

Both of these communities, caver rescuers and SQL Saturday presenters share a couple of things in common.  We have a love for what it is that we do. We desire to help others. And, we don’t do it for the profit or the glory.  When I teach any of the NCRC cave rescue courses I get paid with my meals. The same is true with SQL Saturdays. Sometimes I might get a free shirt. And generally I’m paying for my own travel to any of these events.

However, there’s one other form of payment I strive for in each case. That of passing on knowledge and of gaining knowledge. With the cave rescue classes, I can often recall distinctly the look on a student’s face when a concept I’m teaching registers and they have what I call the “aha” moment. That’s worth the time and effort for me.

The same is true with when I teach at SQL Saturdays. If I have a single attendee come up to me and say, “Hey, I really liked your talk. The idea for X really resonated” I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal.

Equally, I almost always come away with learning something myself.That too makes it worth my while.

My talk yesterday was “Tips that have saved my Bacon”. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous giving this talk, since the first time I gave it at SQLSaturday NYC 2015 I had only about 8 people show up. So I wasn’t sure how popular it would be this time and being slotted for the first sessions in the morning I wasn’t sure if folks would be  up yet.

Fortunately, over 25 people showed up and seemed to enjoy it. And yes, I did have several people come up to me afterwards thanking me for the session and that they enjoyed it. So, my mission was accomplished. I also received some good critical feedback for improving it next time.

I’ll be speaking again at SQLSaturday here in Albany NY on July 30th. This time though will be a different topic, one I really enjoy and so far I’ve received great feedback on. It’s not about SQL specifically, but more about how IT and Management can learn from plane crashes.

I hope you can make it.