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Turn the page, again :)

I’ve been at my present company for about 9 months, I’m happy here – getting the hang of things, supporting this, coming up with some cool solutions to make things easier for people.  The commute is about an hour each way, but it’s worth it.  I’m happy, I get out on time, have a really good home/work  balance.

Then a recruiter drops me a line and throws everything into a spin.  I wasn’t looking, hadn’t even updated my resume.  Calls me with an opportunity to work for a really great company, less than two miles from my house.  I had no idea this company was even there.  Had a great interview, really liked what I experienced there and what they’re offering as far as tech and solutions they’re looking to build.

On April 10th, i’ll start at Applegate Farms as a Business Intelligence Developer, working with a great bunch of people.  I’ve never had more of a stake in a company than I will with this one – they were one of the first products we found when Gillian was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007.  They make meats and cheeses, and I gotta say, some of the best bacon I’ve ever had.

Sometimes the universe just lines things up for you.  WOO!


Eventually, I’d like to be able to write novels full-time and live in the big summer house on a lake with all the trimmings.  In order to get to that point, I have to sell books.  In order to do that, I need to write one.  In order to do that, I have to write.

So how do you establish a habit?  I’m asking because I’m the king of not following through, lord of starting and not finishing.

I was born and raised in a happy environment with a living family and plenty of friends.  I’m probably smarter than the average bear, but it wasn’t easy.  Sure, in the beginning it was, didn’t have to study, also had the benefit of being good at any sport I tried so I was successful at most things.

Then I hit 10th grade geometry and almost failed my first class.  Junior and Senior year were more of the same-“wtf is happening to me?”. Truth is, I had no idea how to work, how to study, how to succeed on more than natural intelligence or physical skill.  To this day, I still have to struggle with being methodical and not blaming someone or something for me not succeeding.

So how do I succeed, or at least keep moving in a forward direction?  I plan, I try, I take smaller steps but keep in mind what the next few will be.

I try not to get distracted and surf for hours, but it happens.

So my step here is, to just write.  Hopefully it’ll help someone, but just the practice of writing will help not only stretch creative muscles, but also form habits.

So back to my original question, how do you form habits?

Turn the page….

“And now, for something completely different”…well maybe not completely different, but today was my last day at my current job and I start my new position at K Hovnanian Homebuilders on Monday.

It’s the same in that i’m still going to be a data hound, but I won’t have anyone reporting to me (so no HR/reviews/personnel worries), the pace is a lot more relaxed (actually possible to work 40 hours in one week and have a bit more free time), and I’ll get to focus on the technology I enjoy and think I can make a significant contribution to.

Going to spend the weekend relaxing and getting excited about my new journey on Monday.

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone in SQLFamily for their support and advice.

Best way to learn is to do it… (SSIS)

So I’ve been working on a bunch of projects that are allowing me to get my hands dirty with SSIS, and it’s been awesome.  I’ve learned so much in such a short period of time – well, re-learned some, learned better ways of things.

The most important thing I learned:

  1. If you have SQL2012 server and you’re developing on VS2013, STOP!  I had to recreate the process in SSDT2012 in order to deploy and run it on my production SQL box.  Has to do with versioning, etc.  Save yourself a bunch of worry – find out which version of SQL you’re using, and make sure you can develop in the right environment.

Other Important Stuff:

  1. Send Mail tasks won’t work unless you have things configured properly.  I was trying to find things on google and all I kept coming across was how to configure the task or how to Install SSIS and configure it to run, not how to configure the server to send it properly.  Thankfully John took pity on me and helped me realize that using an execute SQL task and sp_send_dbmail works more easily and cleanly – Sql Server Central
    • To that end, you need to make sure you have a profile to send from, so create one under Database Mail on  your sql box if you haven’t got one already.  I created one called SSISJobs.2016-06-07 15_10_34-Database Mail Configuration Wizard -
      I tried just creating entries into sysmail_account and sysmail_profile – no dice.  Use the wizard, it worked like a charm.
    • Run this after in your query browser to make sure it’ll work:
      EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_send_dbmail
      @profile_name = ‘SSISJobs’,
      @recipients = ‘,
      @body = ‘The stored procedure finished successfully.’,
      @subject = ‘SSIS Job Message’ ;
    • The [msdb].[dbo].[sysmail_log] table is a handy table to tell you if your message is having an issue
      • 1) Exception Information ===============
      • or Not
      • DatabaseMail process is started
        DatabaseMail process is shutting down
  2. Make sure the applications you’ll need are installed on the box you are running things from, or you have a way to access them.  In my case, I’m using Putty to access SFTP servers to download and move files.  I’ll put that whole process in another post.
  3. DTSX is really all just XML 🙂
  4. Once SSIS is installed (which it already was), all you have to do is right click on Integration Services Catalogs and create one.  Open that and create folder.  Then deploy from SSDT by right clicking the project and hitting deploy.  You have to configure it to hit the right SQL Db, but more details on that later too.
  5. I’ll add more to this list, or create a new list when I get a chance.

I know there are a lot of things I’m not taking advantage of such as deployment and configuration stuff in 2012, but I just want to get my first package up and running.

ADD – a post about things that I find……squirrel!

My brain has always been a bit of the bouncy type.  I look at new stuff for a while, then bounce to the next thing, then the next, never quite managing to finish anything.  I have always wanted to write a story, but I have never managed to get past the initial idea stage and complete one good story.  Same thing goes with work.  I have a tendency to really not focus as well as I should, and now that I have a team reporting to me, it’s even harder.

I started seeing a therapist recently and started describing some of my frustration and problems, and we quickly narrowed it down to the possibility of having undiagnosed ADD.  Not that I want to label everything, but it’s nice to see that a lot of my self-esteem issues, problems with taking constructive criticism, never finishing things are all symptoms that can be addressed.

No, I don’t think I’ll become the next millionaire now that I know what’s causing some of the problems or that I’m going to automatically going to take something for it, but it’s definitely nice to see that it isn’t just motivation or things along those lines.  Take this account for instance.

I’ve been trying to break back into BI for a while.  I got a new job a few years ago that took me into a senior analyst position, and now I manage a development team, but every 9-12 months like clockwork, I’ll log into my twitter account and start asking everyone how I can be successful, and try to get advice on everything.

Knowing is half the battle – self knowledge is priceless.  Just knowing that there is an obstacle I have to deal with is helping me keep the momentum on what I want – I want to work with data.  How and what and why can happen later, but I have been putting together plans and small pieces have already begun to fall back int place.  I built a small SSIS job that doesn’t do much, but it’s dusting off my skills.  I’ve started playing with PowerBI because it’s taking me down the Self Service BI road I’ve wanted to go.  I’m going to be looking at it more as well as alternatives in the near future and posting things about how my Red Sox data set works with different front ends.

Anyway, so the point of my post is really to write about what I’m doing and what I’m thinking.  I’ll be putting together a more strict schedule for things because I read and have heard that it’s essential for people who can’t organize.  This helped me just write about it, I hope it can help someone else who might be in a similar situation.

Epic Life Quest

I’m really bad at keeping track of things I have to get done.  In my quest to do what makes me happy, I started branching back into SQL dev and came across the site of the SQL Hammer.  (I know, sounds menacing!)  He had something on his site that really intrigued me (Epic Life Quest), so after digging through and seeing it linked to a few sites I already followed, I have decided to create my own.  It’s a bucket list with a D&D twist to it.  Each quest item completed is 20% progress on a level, so here’s my list.  I’ll update it as I finish things.  I’m going to put some simple things and some bigguns on there to make me reach for it.

*edit* published as a post instead of a page.  Head to the Epic Life Quest page to see how I’m doing.

Keep it moving

Ever watch the movie Up?  Yeah, I’m the dog – *SQUIRREL*!!  Every year or so, I get an itch to get back into development and  spend huge amounts of time and effort getting everything set up to do it, and then I just play world of warcraft for weeks on end and it fizzles and dies.

BUT NOT THIS TIME!!!!  Well, I’m gonna take it day by day.  What am I doing?  I’m trying to make SQL development and business intelligence the focus of my free time (without annoying my wife TOO much).  I didn’t realize how much I needed a creative outlet, nor did I realize that I have ADD 🙂  Oh yeah, I’ll be working with a therapist on that one so I’ll make sure I share all of those realizations.

This blog is for me, and it reflects my opinions and hopefully will have some good stuff for people who might be in the same boat as me – in a job that doesn’t speak to their passion, but pays the bills and is a decent place to work.  What I’m hoping in this journey, is to be able to apply a lot of the things I’m learning to the everyday operations of my company, and maybe at some point, start doing more of the stuff I want to do.

so I have a few small projects i’m cobbling together to practice on, and I’m going MS Virtual Academy, so hopefully I’ll make progress.  If you have an essential thing that really helped jumpstart your journey or just a good resource, put it in the comments, I’d love to hear and see what inspired you all!