What is Your “Why”?

Andy Leonard (@AndyLeonard) has asked this month on T-SQL Tuesday “Why do you do what you do?” I have two answers to this question. On one hand I do what I do because it pays the bills. I have a full time job working for a company here in Australia and it pays the bills and allows me to enjoy the lifestyle that I want with my family. If my employer stopped paying me, I would do something else. But that’s why I work for my current employer, not why I work in IT.

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Since I have to work, I always wanted to work on something that I would enjoy. I love problem solving. Since I was a kid I loved getting puzzles, working out logically what needs to happen to make it work. Thinking ahead about the different possibilities and complexities of each option. I still have a set of these cubes and I remember spending hours working out different ways to fit them together, to build bigger cubes, to solve different problems, or the same problem in different ways. I knew from a young age that I wanted a job that solves problems.

Over the last 10 years, as I’ve started to become more senior in my role, I have realised that data is only good if you use it, programs are only useful if they are used, in fact, everything in IT is completely pointless without those pesky users who always seem to stuff it up. And so over the last 10 years I have realised that my career in IT is bigger than the To Do list of jobs I do in the office each week, it’s actually to think about the problems that I’m solving for the business.

What I do is not simply writing code, doing backups and performance tuning and project planning and helping junior developers and so on. That’s what my day looks like, but what I actually do is solve problems for my employer.

There is a stereotype for Database Admins that they just say no to everything, and I think that’s a sad place to be. I think it’s often a sign that they’ve got caught up in the what of their job, and forgotten the why. Sure, it is important to say no to some things, but it’s also just the easy answer.

Problem solving is the reason that I got in to IT, and it’s why I still want to work in IT. Whether it be solving the problem for the user by fixing bugs in the applications or building new features to allow them to do their jobs better; or behind the scenes stuff that they’ll never see, like making sure the backups are done, that the stored procedures run fast enough, or just that the servers are turned on.

Why do I work in IT? Because I want to solve problems. Why do you do what you do? Let me know why in the comments.

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