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May 10, 2019 12:14:31

A lesson in patience

by @brandonwilson PATRON | 834 words | 443🔥 | 443💌

Brandon Wilson

Current day streak: 443🔥
Total posts: 443💌
Total words: 153536 (614 pages 📄)

Sometimes things don't work out the way you expect. A "no" in the present could become a "yes" in the future. This is why patience is important. Allow me to illustrate with a story.

When I first became a configuration analyst, I had no SQL knowledge. I quickly learned the value, though. Learning how to use SQL to query the database of the software I use saves so much time. In some cases, it is the only way to see data that would otherwise be cumbersome and time-consuming to view in the user interface. I never took any courses. I asked a co-worker to run queries for me and put the SQL on the second tab of the spreadsheet. I saved those templates and studied them. Over time, I learned enough to be dangerous.

In my field of health insurance (and probably others) there is a gap between business people who understand operations and business rules and technical people who understand coding and databases. I realized it would make me more valuable if I learned technical skills to complement my business knowledge.

Fast forward to my role today in which SQL is invaluable. I use it every day. In fact, I can't imagine not using it. If they took my access away, they might as well say, "You can only type with your right hand." Knowing how important this skill is, I started thinking about a way I can help others learn it and become more valuable too.

The current training offerings in my space are generic. There are plenty of SQL courses out there, and they will give you all the ins and outs and more than you ever wanted to know about SQL. But you still need to know the structure and schema of the database. The vendor of the software offers technical training to teach the schema, but the assumption with that training is that you know SQL. This leaves a gap of specialized knowledge to teach business analysts the rudiments of SQL along with the database schema. You don't need to know everything about SQL, just the common commands and syntax used in 80% of the queries. The same with the schema. In other words, this is the best-of-both-worlds approach I aimed for when I started as a configuration analyst.

A little over a year ago I developed a SQL training course. I have a background in teaching and training, so it's in my wheelhouse to develop a full-blown course complete with PowerPoints, practice exercises, and job aids. I developed this course in my capacity as a consultant, but I did it on my own time and was not compensated for it. I created the course purely to share my knowledge and help others. I ran a pilot for some friends and it went well. I decided to present this course to my manager all wrapped up with a nice bow on top thinking he should be blown away by what I created. He commented on it and seemed to understand the value of it. 

Then nothing. Radio silence. It went nowhere. I eventually had a conversation with him about it but was left unsatisfied. I put all that work into a course that I know can help people immediately. And yet it sat on the shelf.

So I used the course with my previous client and they found some value. I notified my manager about this and still, nothing happened. The disconcerting part was that I really didn't have an answer. Maybe the course isn't as great as I think it is. Maybe it's just bad timing. Maybe this just isn't how a consultant company works. "Stop playing around on some course and put in more billable hours!" So I left the course on the shelf until about two weeks ago.

One of my fellow consultants on the same team reached out to my manager asking what he recommended to learn SQL. My manager sent an email to a small group including me asking for suggestions. Duh! Of course I have a recommendation. Umm, remember this course?? So, I pitched it again. Long story short, nine of my fellow consultants were interested. Five of them are joining me for the first "official" run of my course starting tomorrow morning. Oh, and my manager told me the company will compensate me for delivering the course. Score!

I guess I'm finally going to find out if this course is as good as I think it is. After all, the customer is king. 

More importantly, I learned the lesson of patience. Things may not happen when you want them to. Sometimes it takes certain factors and circumstances to come together. Or just plain blind luck. So don't get down on yourself. Don't give up.  "Not now" doesn't mean "not ever." Stay awake and aware because an opportunity will show up when you least expect it, and those we might call "lucky" are the ones who are prepared to take action at that moment. 

  • 1

    @brandonwilson - Nicely written Brandon. I think you will gravitate more towards training naturally.

    Btw, have you heard of Udemy? You could post your house there and make money 24-7.

    Keni avatar Keni | May 11, 2019 11:04:00
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      @keni Thank you! Yes, I have heard of it but haven't really explored that site in much detail. I have a feeling as I start moving into the knowledge business space I will find out a lot more about how all this is done.

      Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 11, 2019 09:38:57
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    You seem like in a good position to actually be teaching SQL to business and non programmer people. That gap is one that is much begging to be bridged. Are you trying again at doing such? Or are you more focusing on other things currently?

    Abe avatar Abe | May 11, 2019 15:33:41
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      @abrahamKim This is an "on-the-side" activity. My consultant role with the current client presently does not call for delivering training. I do have a lot of interest in training in multiple avenues.

      Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 11, 2019 09:40:35
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