A while back, I noticed that Paul Randal (on twitter as @paulrandal) had started a new blog meme on three events that brought their life to where it is today. I’ve skipped a lot the past year’s memes due to time constraints but thought I’d chime in on this one and have a go at it.
Back when I was an extremely shy version of current myself, I had gone to a wedding. The DJ sucked. The musical choices were poor. Songs were cut off in the middle of play for something new. Not a fade to something better, but an abrupt stop and reversal of the entire tone of the moment. And the equipment had no sound quality what-so-ever. In fact, the DJ sucked so bad that I was convinced I could have done a better job.
As I was "armchair quarterbacking" the DJ the following week, I said that I should do that. If she could, then I definitely could. And the I was approached by a co-worker who asked if I started a company if I would DJ her wedding. After thinking about it a bit, I decided to take her up on the offer.
The biggest problem after getting her money and contract was a general lack of any of the required infrastructure. I worked out a deal with my uncle to purchase the necessary speakers, mixers, and lights. And then I started shopping for CDs. Within a couple months, I was approaching nearly 1,000 CDs and had a new problem.
How do I make music lists without a lot of work? How should I catalog the music? How will I find the next song to play when the current song is playing?
That led me to take a look at the programs on my computer and I found one called… Access 2.0. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but it seemed that it could do what I needed. I sat down and after hundreds of hours of tinkering over the years, I built a fairly robust database that I could use to manage and organize music for my business.
And I was officially a database hack.
I will qualify, I was a wedding DJ. I did not have two turntables. But I did have a microphone.
When I was a database hack, I hadn’t actually believed anyone could make money or have a career with computer-machines. So instead, I pretended to go to college and worked as a server. Somewhere in there I decided to pick up a temp job and started at a bank working on entering credit card applications. Oh yeah! Data entry.
I rocked at the data entry and was soon moved off of that to reviewing individual credit cards. And then off to corporate credit using the internet to try and research the background and news happening with the bank’s customers. One of the greatest lessons I learned at this point was that almost everything was on the internet, it was just a matter of submitting the right query.
Doing good at your job can have it’s curses. I was soon asked to move to another group to do credit analysis within the corporate credit department. I didn’t have a background in finances but I was young and willing to do the work in front of me. Long and the short of it, I sucked at credit analysis. I was so clueless as to what I was doing and trying to fake it while I tried to learn what I needed to know. I was in over my head and ready to quit.
One of my old managers recognized this and remembered when I was stellar and offered to bring me over to her group rather than my current manager letting me go. My desire to quit had been a little bit slower than the current managers desire to fire me. Fortunately, though, before either happened I was moved to a merchant fraud risk group.
The nice thing about this group is that I eventually got a chance to highlight my database hack skills. They had an Access database that they used for uncovering merchant fraud. More specifically, they had an Access database that 100% mimicked a mainframe application and was as user friendly. They even managed to make it uglier than its predecessor.
One thing led to another and when I left this department, I was a SQL Server developer. The Access database now had a SQL Server backend. And I was heading to a data warehousing group to write DTS packages.
Throughout my time at the bank, I had a number of life changing events that occurred. Some of the highlights were getting married and having four children. And some of the lows were my daughter and my best friend from my college years passing away. I worked a lot and didn’t pay attention to my spouse or children nearly as much as I should have. And really wasn’t having a good time with life. All of this culminated in getting divorced.
For many divorce is a low point, and I’ll admit to having some bad days after it started. But as a whole it was one of the best decisions of my life. And really lead to a lot of success, happiness, and a chance to be a better father to my children.
It gave me an opportunity to re-think my life and career. This was when I decided that I should control my career and not just let it happen to me, which is when I started blogging and started a new job at Digineer as a consultant. I also decided to stop putting off things that I wanted to do and live my life in a way that I was satisfied with every day and what I did with it.
Since then I’ve had a lot of fun with my kids. Enjoyed life and where it is going. And I can once again count my ex-wife as a very good friend. Life is good.