I recently achieved something I never had before. I have read a book over 1000 pages, 1168 to be exact.
It was an amazing struggle of capitalism vs. socialism set in the 1950’s. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is a very fictional, fear mongering account of what life might be like if extreme socialistic views swept the United States. There was a poorly reviewed movie released last year that covered only the first half of the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with some free time.
10-289 is a directive issued by the socialist regime. They have begun to take serious control and have their way with whoever they want in the second half of the book. The leaders issue this directive 10-289 that basically locks everyone in their current jobs and allows no price or wage changes. Keep in mind this comes after the “no-dog-eat-dog” directive that governs big business.
Picture an airplane with 4 engines and 3 are currently on fire. All the pilot is allowed to do is stay the course until the plane eventually crashes because someone, safely on the ground, told them that’s what they are supposed to do. If the pilot or engineers try to fix anything they will be thrown from the plane to plummet to their certain death. There comes a time in this book were the engineers not only loose their ability to argue valid points but don’t even question the letter of the law.
Back to Tech
The reason I told you this is because it so amazingly relates back to my work. No one wants production problems, but sometimes they happen. Weather it be human error, poor judgement or simply computer neglect, the consequences can add up quickly. DBAs are stricken especially bad by the black cloud of doom that is change.
How do DBAs turn into this waste of space? Well, its things like 10-289.
To put it generically as possible, this recent outage we had at my shop was epic. At least two decades have gone by without the severity of set-backs we’ve had in the last week. That caused management to enter a state of paranoia and fear of the unknown. Management tiptoed into the abyss and started, at first, whispering the directives. But then they got louder and louder until the goals were set of no changes.
Two fundamental skills that make DBAs good are an effort to learn and judgement. Without the ability to make decisions the learning is useless, and without learning the judgments are terrible. So when the socialist regime issued its directive of no changes, we were trapped in a loop of learning without purpose. The desire to learn simmered on a stove without power to keep it going.
With experience comes a growing knowledge of internals and the interlinking of production systems. This knowledge helps us DBAs avoid peak hours changes that could cause problems. This knowledge helps us understand what is wrong so we can quickly diffuse problems and put out that engine fire. This knowledge is invaluable.
So knowledge is the driver for good decisions. The responsibility of decision making drives us to learn. Its a real A=A logical argument. Good knowledge = Good decisions. The moment all decisions get wrapped in an approval process, the will to learn goes by the wayside. So I say to you, Power is Knowledge.
I present this argument against all that is stifling your power. Don’t let blanket regulations get you down, go forth and use your decision making abilities. Listen to your management but remember Sturgeon’s Law is always at play.