Tagged Again, Two Mistakes

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OK. I really do need to take a look at incoming links more often. This one was pointed out to me. Now I’m to provide two mistakes… Only two? This is another idea originating with Chris Shaw who apparently spends all day providing a duel service. He torments fellow DBA’s and provides blogging fodder. I’m not sure which is more useful to the public.

1)  HUGE mistake. Way back, much earlier in my career, I thought I could do no wrong and learn anything I needed to learn within a week or so. First time I learned that wasn’t true was when I claimed to be a database expert at the consulting company I was working for. They sent me off to a client where I proceded to trash a database server. I mean, I mucked it up totally with the gleeful abandon that comes from total ignorance. Next day, I come back, of course, nothing is working. My fault, but I didn’t know it at the time. Instead, I ask around to see if anyone else had been on the system. I find out that their local DBA had been in it. I go over and start berating this woman, who was apparently a saint. I finish ripping her a new one and she patiently walks over to the machine and begins my education as a DBA. She goes for an hour straight, just listing my mistakes. Then she suggests a couple of books, some classes, calls my boss and asks them to ship me back to the office. I leave there, humbled and totally beaten. But, I worked for a great company (except for their tendency to send out unqualified people, which they did quite a lot). They felt I had potential so they provided me with a bit of training and off I ran. Lesson learned, try to learn what you don’t know prior to screaming that lack of knowledge at the planet.

2) I was still learning my chops around databases when I decided that one of the tables I was working on needed two clustered indexes. Yeah, I know now that they can only have one. It was a much older version of Sybase and I was using a third party tool, I’m not sure which one. Anyway, I did it. I got two clustered indexes onto the table. Oh, and did I mention, it was a production table. Needless to say, that part of the database was offline. I was getting really weird errors. I struggled and fought and finally called Sybase support. I’ve got the high-mucky-mucks of the company standing behind me moistening my neck with their breath as I try to solve the problem. A few minutes with the Sybase tech support and they provide a solution, fixing the allocation errors on the table. Then, of course, the VP’s or whatever they were ask how it happened so it won’t happen again. I turn to the Sybase support guys. They ask me what I did? Nothing, says I, I was just putting another clustered index on the table when… Once the guy on the phone stopped laughing, he explained my error and I had to turn around and explain it to the VP’s. I thought about trying to shade it, but isntead I just told the truth. “I screwed up. I did something wrong.” That worked. They were satisfied. It’s something I’ve carried forward. If I screw up, I own it.

Also, TEST stuff offline in non-production environments for crying out loud!

Now, to tag. I’m going for SQLBatman & Gail again.


  • scarydba

    This was at least fifteen years ago, so I don’t remember details. But a few things I do recall was changing the connection services so that it didn’t use IP although whatever I changed it to wasn’t enabled on the box, changing a couple of the logins for the service, I think might have modified system procedures or replace them or something. It wasn’t pretty. I was utterly clueless and completely confident. Horrifying combination.

OK, fine, but what do you think?