This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is brought to us by Jason Brimhall (Blog | Twitter) and he’s asking what we do to prepare for some time off. Databases don’t take any time off, and in my experience DBAs rarely do either. We do earn our vacation like every other employee though, and every once in a while we might even be allowed to use some of it! When I’m getting ready to go on a vacation, I take 2 simple steps to help ensure that things stay “business as usual” while I’m out of the office:
The same documentation you write to help others (and perhaps yourself!) learn about your system and avoid confusion can also save your vacation. If your processes and procedures are accompanied by good documentation, others will be much more likely to handle problems on their own. Not only can this help cut down on interruptions while you’re at the office, but ideally can reduce them while you’re away as well.
Of course, documentation won’t help anyone if it’s not stored in a location that’s accessible to everyone in the organization. If people can’t find it (or it’s a pain to navigate through once they do) they’re not going to want to read it, meaning you’ll be just as likely to have someone call you or show up at your desk as you were before. Try to store your documentation on an internal wiki or similar system. Another great idea is to include a “quick reference” containing the most common errors/problems and how to solve them quickly. Writing good documentation does take up time that you could otherwise be using to get more work done, but it can also save a lot of time when you or someone else are in a pinch.
Another good idea for when when you’re headed to the
science museum beach is to make sure others know to contact someone else in your absence. This designated contact person will have your contact information and the instructions to please use it only if a true emergency exists. Changing voicemail and out-of-office messages to say that you are out of the office, the date you’ll be returning, and who to contact in case of emergency will leave very little room for someone to say you didn’t do due diligence.
If you’re part of a team, that person you redirect requests to while you’re gone will hopefully be someone who either took part in your projects or has solid knowledge about them. If you’re the only person in the organization with any kind of database knowledge, things can be a bit trickier. Hoepfully there’s someone that’s at least technically savvy enough to read your documentation (see above!) and do whatever is necessary to put out the fire when it occurs. Being the only person at your company with a clue about the technical operations is a very bad situation both for you and your employer. Not only will vacation time be difficult to come by, but should something happen like you become sick or get hit by a bus, the business could be affected.