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When I look at my career, I have found incredible success as a DBA and a fulfilling career in the field. While this has certainly been rewarding, I realize that I want to continue the progress that I have had. Navigating the career path from this point forward is less clear but offers a challenge that is no less fulfilling. This navigation is made considerably easier by having someone who has faced these challenges before and, importantly for me, is accomplished and willing to invest their time to see others have this same acheivement. Paul exemplifies these traits as a mentor and has a tremendous amount of knowledge, wisdom, and experience to offer. To be chosen by Paul as a mentee would be a tremendous honor that could help shape the next stage of my career.

As a potential mentee, I felt it extremely important to ask myself what I want to gain from this experience. I saw several themes that appeared as I went through this process. Gaining confidence in presenting technical material is an area that will supply immense benefit regardless of where my career takes me. Exploring a more formalized growth plan towards an architecture position will help with my day-to-day and future growth. Finally, if I am asking someone to invest time in me, and I am asking for this help publicly, this is the ultimate accountability test for myself.

With the involvement that I have within the SQL community, I have done some technical presentations. Regardless of where I choose to go in my career, I know that gaining confidence in presenting technical material will be immensely helpful. Each time I have given a presentation, I have learned something new in how I could have delivered the content more effectively. Paul’s written style in his blog and books is concise and easy to follow. With his presentations, I have seen I am equally impressed by the polish. I hope to gain from this mentoring experience a bit more confidence within myself, and some added pro-tips that I could use to make my presentations that much better.

Stating the obvious, 2020, and the pandemic has been an event that has shaken many people. I had found myself asking even before the global chaos “What’s next?” or “Is this it?”. When looking at my age and career stage, these questions make sense. I progressed from a help desk role, wondering if I would ever get into my first DBA role to a Senior DBA within ten years. I am a driven person and, for many years, had a written growth plan with target goals and dates. Now that I have met these goals, I am finding the path forward foggier than ever.

As I consider my career perspective and the paths before me, a crucial decision seems clear. With a management path, the road from my perspective seems less technical. Consulting or architecture, on the other hand, are highly specialized. So far, I have been reluctant to consider a management role for fear of giving up my technical skills. For me, there is a joy that solving a complicated technical problem brings. I have some of the skills and breadth of knowledge to have success with architecture. What I lack currently is a clearer picture of the roadmap of capabilities I need for success. I hope that I can come away from this experience with a more specific growth plan towards my next path. The thought of being able to discuss this with someone in the field who may have navigated some of these very same questions and offer an objective view is exciting.

The act of writing and publishing this blog has served as a point of self-reflection. I know what I am looking to gain by taking part in this opportunity. This mentorship is not an opportunity to squander if chosen. By taking the time to ask for mentoring in a public forum, I am supplying myself with an accountability check.

I am so thankful to Paul for choosing to offer his time to select mentees from the community. I hope that I am picked for this experience so that I can gain from his insight.