I was asked, “Who here thinks that PASS helps people put food on the table?” To my shame, I initially said no. I mean after all, it’s just training and networking that could lead to improved knowledge and abilities which… hang on. Just how wrong I can be sometimes when I don’t fully engage my brain prior to speaking.
The Table and the Food
I’m almost entirely self-taught when it comes to IT.
I make that claim all the time. You know it’s not true. Do I have formalized educational training from any type of certified body? You know, a university education? Nope. Not at all. Instead, I’ve learned from a combination of experimentation, books, blogs, videos, friends, contacts and some classes at a variety of venues. Notice what’s wrong there? Only one of those is just me, teaching myself, experimentation. Everything else means that I’m completely dependent on others for all the stuff I’ve learned.
That means that not only is PASS helping me put food on the table, but, PASS, and others, helped me to get the table, the chairs, and the house they sit inside of. Then, PASS helped me put food on that table.
It’s Not PASS
It’s not really PASS that does this. It’s the individuals that do it. However, PASS does do a few things beyond what the individuals are capable of.
First, it provides the organization through which all these individuals interact. Take the UK for example. They have had very active communication and cross-pollination between their user groups for a long time prior to PASS showing up. However, PASS connected the US and the UK, and Germany and the UK, etc., in ways that they hadn’t been previously. The ability to get together and share isn’t unique to PASS, but PASS provides us with a common fabric through which our ability to do these things grows.
Second, PASS provides us with infrastructure to assist the learning. We’ve got, I actually don’t know how many, hours of recorded material available, online, with the exception of the preceding Summit, for free. The recorded sessions of the Virtual Groups and all the previous PASS Summits represents a massive learning resource. We also provide mechanisms for connecting up local user groups. Further, we provide all the infrastructure around SQLSaturday events (probably one of the most successful learning, sharing and networking events around, worldwide). We’re actively building more and better events such as the Business Analytics Day, which is looking more and more successful.
So, while it’s not PASS doing these things. It is PASS that makes these things possible on the scale on which they’re occurring.
What’s Your Point?
My point is pretty simple. It’s actually one I’ve made before, but that whole “dinner on the table” statement forced me to reassess my own feelings and thoughts. I have a fantastic and fun job (thank you Redgate) that I have because of the PASS organization. Now, you can’t get my job because I’m not done with it yet. However, I want to help PASS give you what it gave me. PASS helped me, helps me, put food on the table. I want it to do the same for you.
So, please, check out your local PASS group. If there isn’t one, maybe you should make one. Check out your local SQLSaturday event. If there isn’t one, you know the drill. Go to the Business Analytics Day in your area. Go to the PASS Summit. If nothing else, check out the Virtual Groups and see if you can’t learn something new about the Microsoft Data Platform.
Then, when you get to these events, take an active part. Don’t just attend a session, strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Start building your network. Start expanding your horizons. Don’t be surprised when you notice a little more food on the table because of all this.