Oracle Tips and Tricks — David Fitzjarrell

September 25, 2014

Map Reading

Filed under: General — dfitzjarrell @ 11:55

Consider the following concept: When you are born you are issued a map showing the direction your life will take. Along the way people will come into your life and help you make sense of parts of that map. You may not know these people at the time but they will be important in establishing where you are to be headed and possibly what you should be doing. Eventually you can read the entire map and know where you should go; hopefully you’ll already be there.

Continuing with that premise there have been four extremely influential people who have come into my life to help me read my map and set the direction that landed me here, as an Oracle DBA. I would like to acknowledge these people here; they will be listed in ‘order of appearance’, to take a phrase from the television industry. Any one of them would have been very influential; it’s the fact that they all entered my life at some point and helped guide me along the way that I find important.

If it weren’t for Janet Hamilton, Ph.D., I probably never would have stayed with my plans for a college degree in Chemistry. Janet is a one of a kind person, extremely intelligent yet willing and able to share her knowledge. She taught both Freshman Inorganic Chemistry and Sophomore Organic Chemistry so those of us who were Chemistry majors, Pre-Med or Nursing students had her for two full years. She also taught the Organic Chemistry labs so many of us saw a lot of her each week. She was always willing to help during her office hours and I took advantage of that as often as I could. She was passionate about Chemistry and instilled that passion in us. What she taught me was this: knowledge is best when it’s shared. She was a shining example of this every day and fueled in me a desire to share what I know.

Next in line was Cora Schweitzer, a lovely woman who taught Advanced World Literature and did it with a passion and flair I have yet to experience again. Unlike many English teachers Cora brought the subject to life and did it on a daily basis. I could not wait to go to class and experience her knowledge and wisdom. I learned from her that passion is a key to workplace success and happiness, and that you should do what you love as a career. That is sometimes a difficult task to complete as thought, logic and passion can ‘collide’; doing what you love may not be the most financially advantageous direction to take but it can make a difference in how your life is spent. Sometimes it’s better to make a living doing something you are passionate about than it is to go for the financial success, especially if financial success leads to a great deal of stress. One day in class Cora admitted she would sit near her office door waiting for the sound of others leaving the building. She would then call out, “Going home?” in hopes of getting a ride after her day was done. I made regular pilgrimages to her office soon after that to offer to drive her home. We had lovely conversations while I drove, and I learned even more how interesting and fascinating she was. Sadly Cora died in 1982; she left this world a better place than she found it and I am truly grateful to have been a part of her wonderful life.

Eunice Bonar taught me Quantitative Analysis, and did it like no other person could. She was a stickler for details, but that’s how you had to be when performing quantitative procedures and tests. She showed me the beauty of the Q-test and the satisfaction of producing repeatable results through care and planning. No detail was too small to overlook; she was preparing us for work as Analytical Chemists, a Chemistry career based on precision and accuracy. And she taught us the difference between the two as you can have good precision and poor accuracy, good accuracy and poor precision, or good precision and good accuracy. Regardless of the tasks at hand Eunice made the work interesting and fun, at least to me. Just like my grandfather taught me years before Eunice further instilled in me the desire to do my best at whatever task lies ahead; if you can’t sign your name to it, it isn’t worth doing.

Last, but certainly not least, is Dennis Marynick, who taught Physical Chemistry. This is the toughest subject a Chemistry or Chemical Engineering major would take. Bumper stickers were sold by the local American Chemical Society chapter stating “Honk If You Passed P-Chem!”. The subject matter was tough but Dennis could make it interesting. He could translate all of his years of Doctoral research into concepts that promoted understanding. True, there were topics that he just couldn’t work his magic on but, for the most part, he made Physical Chemistry less intimidating, possibly because he, too, loved what he did for a living. He also never stopped learning, not because he had to but because he wanted to. That is an important concept that I integrated into my life.

What I learned from these four outstanding people is this: never stop learning, do what you are passionate about and share what you know, no matter how unimportant you think it might be. Knowledge is power, and sharing what you know can empower others. Because of these people I have become who I am today, a person constantly learning new things and sharing that knowledge as often as I can.

Each of us has at least one person who has given us direction and purpose; remember these people and what they did for you. Maybe some day someone will remember you for your positive contributions to their life.

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