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Cranky Series: What Makes Mike a Cranky DBA and Why?


August 9, 2012 by Mike Hillwig

This is part two of my series on How Not to be a Cranky DBA.

DBAs are known to be “type A” personalities. We’re uptight and anal-retentive. And there are a lot of things that irritate me. The joke in my office is that Team DBA stands for Don’t Bother Asking. ¬†Seriously. We have rules. And if you want to touch the databases we’re sworn to protect, you need to play by those rules. Otherwise, don’t bother asking.


I hate fixing stuff that should have never been broken in the first place. That’s why I love working in the financial industry. We have rules and controls that prevent stuff from being broken in the first place.

Having colleagues on the other side of the planet sometimes means that my phone rings in the middle of the night. It happens. But I want to make sure they’re equipped with the tools they need to allow me to sleep at night.

When I worked for the construction management company, I had a younger coworker who was afraid to go on vacation. If I have to repeat a manual process more than twice, I’m going to automate it. Every time he went on vacation, he’d come back to find yet another one of his job steps had been automated. ¬†DBAs are typically expensive resources. We owe it to our employers to make sure we’re spending their money wisely.

When I worked for the networking company, my phone would often ring in the middle of the night for stupid things. My poor Blackberry got beaten up on those nights. There is a lot we can do to make sure our lives are smoother.

But it comes down to one simple thing. Why does this make us cranky? The simple fact is that we’re lazy. We want to get the most amount of work done with the least amount of effort. And besides, there are many things we’d much rather be doing.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be doing almost anything than answering my Blackberry when it rings at 4:00 AM. This includes anything from consuming more bacon to playing Angry Birds.

My point here is that if we do our day jobs a little smarter, we just might be able to avoid those late night phone calls.