Career Corner: Go Beyond Networking

Networking with others is good for your career. You should do it. Don’t stop there. Keep going.

Networking builds contacts and associates you can reach out to with respect to your technical discipline. You need these to grow effectively in your career.

However, networking typically stops at the technical side. You want to go beyond and change your networks to friends. Life is about more than a career (or at least, it should be). These connections make life better. They help you weather storms. Let me give you a recent example.

I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition last May. I reached out to a couple of folks I know who have the same condition. One of the individuals is in our SQL technical community. He provided encouragement, advice, and where to look next. He has also has checked in from time to time to see how I’ve been doing.

My friend’s care and concern eased a lot of my fears. His encouragement helped me as I faced having to make critical life changes to help with that medical condition. As a result, I’ve mostly adjusted and am better for it.

I’d like to think that I’ve done the same for others. Hopefully I have. That’s part of what makes life work.

Go beyond networking. Move to building friendships. You won’t regret it.


Grateful to have been a Microsoft MVP

A couple of weeks ago I received the disappointing but expected news that I wasn’t renewed as a Microsoft Data Platform MVP. I say expected because I knew my ability to give back to the community had been greatly diminished over the later part of 2015 and into 2016. Between struggling with health issues and sending my oldest off to college (The Citadel, my alma mater), the time and energy just wasn’t there to do much. 

The MVP award is an honor. To have been an MVP from 2009-2016 was a special privilege. If I do enough to warrant such an honor again, I will consider it a privilege again. 

Not being able to write much has been painful. Also, I love the challenge of teaching and reaching folks. And it’s always a thrill to be able to interact with others on subjects I’m passionate about. I miss those experiences. This past year has been hard because of those lost opportunities. I enjoy being part of a great group of professional folks who tend to look out for each other and help one another. So I’m hoping that with my health under better control I will be able to gear back up and interact more again.