Gift Received: The Bravery of Vulnerability (T-SQL Tuesday #121)

Thanks to Mala Mahadevan ( b | t ) for this wonderful T-SQL Tuesday topic for December: Gifts Received For This Year. While I started a new job this year (as an Architect for Insight Digital Innovation) that I am very thankful for and is a direct result of community involvement, that’s not the 2019 gift that I wish to commemorate. That said, it’s awesome to read the volume of posts from people whose professional lives progressed this year!

My post for this T-SQL Tuesday, the 121st edition, will be simple and to the point. The biggest gift that I’ve received this year is the emotional, personal bravery that’s been on display in our community this year. That’s certainly not new to 2019 but it’s been especially meaningful to me during this year. There are a number of stereotypical descriptions about data professional and data-curious folks but, in a year where I’ve struggled with some personal issues, it’s been absolutely inspiring to see how some prominent people within the Microsoft data platform community have put themselves out there publicly.

Whether it’s a blog delving into personal issues, or a tweet displaying some vulnerability, or professional development sessions at community events that are deeply personal, I feel incredibly fortunate to have a small part in a community with people willing to speak openly about the personal issues that may (or may not) affect their professional lives. When you are fairly reserved, as I am, seeing other people call attention to issues that you are also dealing with is a greater gift than a free book, t-shirt, or some new bit of technical knowledge.

On this note, I want to call special attention to two sessions at SQL Saturday Charlotte (which happened this past Saturday, December 7, 2019) that helped a lot of people. Tracy Boggiano ( b | t ) spoke about “Mental Illness in Tech” and how it may be more common than you think and Donna Ellis Wilson ( t ) spoke about how “Failure Needs To Be An Option” and the lessons you can learn from it. This sessions helped some people who will tweet, blog, etc. about how it helped them but, more importantly, it helped other people who will never acknowledge how much these sessions met them where they were at and helped them through issues in their own life.

For 2019, I am thankful for Donna, Tracy, and many others who take the time to sympathize, empathize, and speak to fellow members of our community about their own struggles. The bravery of vulnerability is not an easy thing to execute and/or embrace, but the folks in our community that are doing it are an asset to us all. If you’re celebrating a holiday during this season, I hope you find it restful and relaxing. Cheers!

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