The Soft Start

Friday was my “soft start” in the new company. I needed to start before July 1 to be eligible for medical coverage starting from August 1. It will still be three weeks on no coverage, but at least I will be insured for the next stage of my dental work.

First, Chad wanted me to “start” on June 30 and not bill eight hours of my work. But I told him that since we have “summer Fridays,” and I still have some unused PTO, I can just take half-Friday off and come to his office and make a full workday. It ended up being a great idea since it turned out their HR will be off the week before the holidays. So on Friday, I submitted all my paperwork and was onboarded. I had a badge to enter the building even earlier, so now it’s funny that I work at two places simultaneously. I joked with Boris that now there is no way back, “the marriage certificate is issued,” and Boris told me there was no way back a long time ago.

I am not saying it’s pure joy. I need to do a lot of convincing work with my new coworkers and my new boss, but I am ready for that. I know that I need to understand how exactly my work impacts the company’s financial prosperity. And I love that feeling when the SQL you deployed in production yesterday affects today’s bottom line 🙂

About People’s Interactions

I liked how my Wednesday’s meetup went. I only regret that I didn’t put enough time into advertising, and there were not many people attending. The talk was brilliant. It was new Bruce’s talk “Democratization of Databases,” where he talks about opensource products and how their development is different from commercial products. 

Our discussion ended up being rather political; that’s why I am not posting it on my professional blog.

But you know, I think it was very appropriate. There are times when you have to be political, times when you can’t enclose yourself in your professional world. And now is that kind of time. 

On another note, I started to assemble my team of volunteers. And now, when I started, I do not know how I lived without any help! I felt so good when people responded to my call. When they started to reach out telling me that they want to help, to give back. One of the people who reached out told me: I want to compensate for all these times when I would just come and sit in the corner, listen to the talks, eat pizza and go back home. 

I can see now how many things we didn’t do to give us more publicity. Interestingly, when I talk to other people about giving their enterprise more publicity, I name all these things I didn’t do myself :). I hope that by the time of the next meetup, things will start to look different.

This week was very intense. I had many things going on at work, and I also had to talk to many people for a very long time :). I can’t recall this level of interactions I was involved in since the pre-pandemic times. I am tired, but I also feel very good. I feel empowered by people’s responses. 

My New Thing

How should I put it? I didn’t start a new job, but I started a side job, which brings me immense pleasure.
That’s the job I am doing for my former co-worker and mentor, and doing something for him and together with him was something I’ve wanted for the past seven years.

I could tell that it was the right thing to do to start this project because I instantly felt ecstatic when I started to code. It had been a long time since I felt like this, and since I wanted to finish coding not because I had a deadline, but because I wanted :).

We talked about that project in the early fall, and I didn’t want (and could not) to start until I was done with the book. But the day I was done, I messaged him.

It is a very different environment in terms of how his team operates, how they approach tasks, and divide work. I am not saying it is bad; it’s just not what I am doing at my primary workplace. In some sense, it is good to get out of your comfort zone. Besides, he is a person from whom I can learn a lot, and I am eager to have this “ideas exchange.”

Usually, spring is my worst time of the year regarding what happens to me in all aspects of life. But it looks like this spring is an exception 🙂

Acting Like A Leader

I am listening to “Atomic Habits,” a well-knowing book, mostly building on the “Power of Habit,” which I read a long time ago and really liked. 

As it often happens, you notice the closest ideas to what you are thinking about at the moment. This time, it was the well-known idea of “if you want to become something, act as if you already are.” To be precise, in the book, the author rephrases it like “do not say: I want to run a marathon, say: I want to become a runner.”

The reason I paid attention to this statement is the conversation I had on Friday. Among other things, I was asked about “things that work” with the Chicago PUG. While answering that question, I started to list all the things I usually mention when people ask me, “How did I build it.” I talked about having specific dates, announcing meetups early, starting on time, engaging the audience, coaching the first-time zoom speakers. And I ended my answer with one simple statement: I am a community leader, people are looking up at me, and I felt the responsibility to act.

And that is the most important reason that Chicago PUG is running regular meetups, one of the very few PostgreSQL meetups regularly running during the pandemic. 

I vividly remember how I felt a year ago. I had to make difficult choices, and at that time, I was very unsure of what is the right thing to do, and I was questioning myself and my actions, and the situation was changing not by days but by hours. 

First, I announced the change of speaker. Then, I announced the rescheduling. And two weeks later, I announced going virtual. I opted to be a first zoom speaker because I knew it could be a very miserable experience (and it was). But the important thing was that we were able to continue our activities and the PUG members responded with great attendance. 

I am very proud of all of us, and I hope that later this year, we will be able to switch to the hybrid meetups:)

Eternal Happiness

Remember how I said last week, that I made several important decisions, and I feel the happiest person because of that.

Well, today I finally started to execute on one of these decisions, and I feel over the moon. Just to be clear – it is professional :). But people who know me long enough also know that my worst moment and my happiest moments are most often related to something I am doing in the professions sphere.

The extent of my happiness clearly shows that at least this decision was the right one 🙂

The Book Is About to Go Into Print

Yesterday, I approved a cover proof of our book:). Our editor told us that it will go in production on March 8 and will be available on May 7, which is very exciting.

Also, our technical reviewer published a blog post about the NORM methodology, and it raises a lot of interest (as I can tell by the number of people hitting my GItHub repo. I know that my friends in tech follow me on LInkedIn, but still I will post the link here as well:

https://www.enterprisedb.com/blog/how-no-object-relational-mapping-norm-improves-application-performance-postgresql

Work- Life Balance, And What’s Not

Last week, our CTO asked the tech leadership team to estimate the percentage of all work time we spend on the following categories: the actual management, routine work and processes, and project work. 

I was in Helsinki at that moment, and since I had some extra time< and Boris was there, I decided to approach this task creatively. 

We had different views on what should be considered the project work and whatnot, but in the end, I decided to count as project work only the code writing and coming up with ideas on how to do certain things. I classified all the project planning, discussions with businesses, etc. as management. 

To calculate the percentage of each activity, I needed to calculate the number of hours I spent on each of them. Since I had time, I didn’t just estimate, but I looked at the three previous weeks and calculated the average numbers. 

It turned out that I work 55 hours a week, and I could not believe that number when I saw it. I always thought that if I worked during the after-hours, that’s because I spent some time during the workday for some non-work things. No wonder I felt so tired in the past weeks, and no wonder I felt that I need some vacation, And no wonder I did pretty much nothing in Helsinki. 

All of the above might explain my reaction to the “Laziness Does Not Exist” book. These past three weeks were the weeks when we finished working on the book, and immediately all the extra time I had was taken by work, and that was not right. A side note: when I calculated the total number of hours I work, I included the “natural time waste,” which totals to about an hour a day: sort intervals between meeting, coffee, and bathroom breaks, stretches, and other small distractions. They are essential for your normal functioning, and thereby should not be subtracted from the work time. 

It’s not that I never knew all that. I knew, and I was encouraging other people to not overwork. But for some reason, I always thought that “this does not apply to me.” Because I am passionate about my work, because this is not hard for me, because I am a superhuman, and for whatever other reasons. 

I am trying to change it now, and I realized that I need to advocate for myself the same way I advocate for others. 

A Training Database, Available Now!

One more repost from my professional website, announcing the open-source database

The World of Data

In my yesterday’s post, I mentioned that there was not one, but two projects. The first project being the book, the second one is closely related to the first. 

When Boris Novikov and I started to work on the book, we realized that we need a training database. 

For years, we used examples from the real projects we worked on during different periods of our professional careers. It won’t work for a book: we needed a running example. However, when we started the search for public databases, we could not find any available with the size big enough to demonstrate optimization techniques. After spending some time on the search, we realized that we need to create our own. 

That took a while and materialized as a separate project. We really liked the result and thought that it would be a great contribution to the community. 

With this, please meet

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The Book Is Official!

I will write more on one of the subsequent days, but I really want to share my news, which one of my former co-workers called “the next most important news of the day after inauguration.”

Last week, our book became official, we are on Amazon, and we will be published at the end of April.

Here is it: Amazon.

I made an official announcement a today’s meetup of Chicago PostgreSQL User Group. Also, we officially announced the open source database postgres_air, which we developed to illustrate the concepts from the book. But it ended up to be more than that, and we decided to give it to the community as our contribution.

I am happy in all possible ways 🙂

Here is the recording, if somebody wants to hear a lot of me :). Tomorrow, there will be LinkedIn blog posts, and I will upload the video there as well, but not everybody follows me on LinkedIn 🙂