It's a PASS Thing, You Wouldn't Understand...

Why would you do that for free?” she asked. I was kind of surprised and paused for a minute because it had been some time since I had thought about it.

To set the stage, I was visiting a relatively new client and since they have casual Fridays, I wore my speaker shirt from SQL Saturday Chicago which is personalized with my name. The client asked about it and I told her that I often volunteer and present at SQL Saturdays and User Group Meetings. The conversation went like this:

Her: How much does that pay?
Me: Umm… nothing. It’s volunteer.
Her: Well, they do reimburse you for travel expenses, right?
Me: No, that’s my responsibility.
Her: I don’t get it. Why would you do that for free? Why work for nothing?
….. Pause
Me: It’s not work because I love doing it. I enjoy teaching and presenting, and well… just hanging out with these people.
….. Skeptical look from the client.
Her: It’s a career thing, right? There are people who will advance your career there?
Me: Umm.. there are some career aspects about it, but mostly I went to that event, and really all of these events, because I like the people. Don’t you travel to spend time with people you like?
Her: Well yeah, but not other [Business Type Removed] people. It’s not a social thing.
Me: Well, I guess it’s a PASS thing, a geek thing.
Her: I don’t get it.
Me: I’m going to several events in the next month and maybe your DBA’s would like to attend Austin’s SQL Saturday…….

Terrible Photoshop Skills, I Know

It’s a PASS thing, you wouldn’t understand.

I’ve been a member of this community for a few years and it’s a big part of my life. If you haven’t gotten involved and embraced the SQL Community yet, then what are you waiting for?

Why attend these events? What do you get?

  1. Free or inexpensive training.
  2. Access to some of the best minds in SQL Server.
  3. Exposure to new SQL Server ideas and features.
  4. Inspiration to increase your skill set and improve your career.

It goes without saying that those benefits are important. However, they’re not the most important aspect of these PASS Events. For example, the knowledge is great, but I can learn from books, recordings, blogs, etc. Thanks to the community, tons of free information can be found on the Web.

So, what’s the most important aspect of these events? For me, it’s all about relationships. Building bonds with these people is everything and all of the other stuff is a by-product of that. The events are fun, especially if you volunteer and speak at them. I love this community. That’s the intangible aspect that I couldn’t relate well to the new client.

Upcoming Events

This Saturday (10/1), the fine folks at CACTUSS will be hosting SQL Saturday #97. Some of the best minds in SQL Server will be there to share their knowledge and passion for SQL Server. Oh, and I’ll be there as well to present the following two topics:

Data Warehouse Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make
Many data professionals understand the basics of Data Warehouse design, including Dimension and Fact Tables, slowly changing Dimensions, and the use of meaningless surrogate keys. However, it isn’t until you’ve created a dimensional model and put it into production, that you realize just how much of an impact seemingly trivial mistakes can make. They can hobble performance, allow inaccuracy, and perhaps worst of all, inhibit adoption and usage of the new system.

Learn how to avoid many common mistakes, from someone who’s made them and then found ways to correct them.

SSIS Done Right With Package Configurations
Everyone starts creating SSIS Packages the same way. We hard code connection strings, file locations, etc. Package Configurations are a powerful way to control your packages at run time. This allows you to seamlessly move packages between servers, dynamically assign data sources and destinations, cycle through data sources, and create reusable code.

In this presentation, I’ll demonstrate an easy to understand three step process which you can use with all of your packages to increase your productivity in SSIS.

PASS Summit 2011

The Pass Summit is happening the week of October 10th. The PASS Summit is a wonderful experience, that you just can’t get anywhere else.

This year I’ve been selected to give a five minute lightning talk. DBA Lessons Learned from The Godfather. In that presentation, I’ll share how themes from the Godfather novel and movies apply to our profession and the SQL Community.

I’m really looking forward to these events. I can’t wait to see some of my friends again and get re-energized about SQL Server, blogging, and the community.

I hope to see you there.

7 comments to It’s a PASS Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand…

  • I completely, agree David. Presenting is fun. Learning is great. The relationships are what make it all worth it. It is hard to explain it to people that haven’t been to a SQL Saturday or a similar event. Their loss.

    Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for presenting. Thank you for taking time from your personal life to teach and share with others. It’s greatly appreciated.

  • Well said… As a M2M and SQL Server user I always enjoy your blog and comments. Hopefully we’ll meet up at Pass Summit. Thanks Christian

  • David…
    I know some people just don’t get it, my speaking @ events is my Hobby (sometimes can be a costly one, with all the travel expenses and such.. £10K this year If not more)
    But I really enjoy it, in the process I get to learn about SQL in much more detail , this will help me with my MCM goals, I hang out with the best minds in SQL and can call some of them my friends as well, I know it has improved my professional position no-end and helps me in many {difficult to quantify ways} but I would still do it with 1/10th of the rewards I get from all the effort

    I’m going to be speaking @ SQLPASS Summit as well, my “Waits Stats’ session is Wed aft (Rm: 606-607 @ 4:45 – 6:00PM)
    I’ll also be a lightening talk speaker (on “WMI Alerts” mine is the Thursday session – Good luck with your LT session on the Friday

  • Great post! I am looking forward to hearing that Lightning Talk!


  • Nice post on inspiration, involvement and incentives. Thanks for all of it David!

  • […] of the volunteers at this event so if you’d like to get more involved in the community, and I completely recommend it, message me. I’d be happy to […]

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