Ordinary Oracle Joe

Just an ordinary DBA's thoughts

To be or not to be … a manager

Posted by oakesgr on March 17, 2010

For the past 18 months I’ve been a performing a dual role, DBA by day and team leader and general crime fighting superhero by night.  Or something like that. What I’ve found is that if you spend between 50 and 70% of your time performing management type tasks (appraisals, resource management etc.) your technical skills go down the toilet pretty quick.

So basically I’d arrived at a crossroads in my dba career. Do I continue to perform the team lead role, in which case I will inevitably become a full-time manager at some point, or do I jack in the management work and go back to being ‘just’ a DBA.

After having a good chat with myself, stepping back, re-appraising the situation, blah blah blah (you can tell I’m turning into a manager 😉 )  I decided that I rather like the dba work after all. I still enjoy the technical challenges that being a dba can throw at you, and I definitely still enjoy the thrill of providing a really good, performant, robust and long-lasting solution to those said challenges.

So therefore I’ve asked to step down as a team lead. As far as my current organisation goes, it’s probably not the most career progressing decision I’ve made (!!!) but I hope to be a far happier individual. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the management part of the job, at times it was great. I certainly couldn’t have asked for a better team of dbas to work with, but with recent organisational changes going ahead, I think (hope!) I’ve made the right decision.

So my new (old) life of being a plain old DBA starts again on April the 19th – handovers really drag!

I certainly hope that it will free up some time for blogging, which has really fallen by the wayside recently.


8 Responses to “To be or not to be … a manager”

  1. coskan said

    I think you did the right thing about not choosing to go meetings meetings all day and %90 of which end with “less discuss this next meeting” conclusion 🙂

    And your new title has a bonus of not dealing with somebody else’s holidays and resources as well.

    Welcome back to the bright side

    • oakesgr said

      Hi Coskan,

      thanks for the support. There sure are a lot of meetings happening out there! One good point of performing the role for a limited time is that it’s opened my eyes to how much the team leaders had to deal with.

      Maybe some extra respect for my new team lead when they arrive!


  2. Doug Burns said

    Does this mean you’ll be able to help me out even more on an informal basis? 😉

  3. mwidlake said

    It certainly is not an easy decision Graham, I went through a very similar process about 3 years ago, being pushed up the management hierarchy and having my technical skills atrophy. I took the same decision as yourself, but I ended up taking a long break from work, partly in order to regain enough skills to feel able to sell myself as a technician again. So having your organisation agree to let you re-focus is, I think , a bit of an achievement.

    I’ve known a good half-dozen people make the same decision to return to the technical role and, in all cases, we are all happier {if potentially poorer} for the decision. I think you will not regret it.

    If it means we get more blogs from you I will be especially happy. But not if you go wasting your time helping that Burns character.

    • oakesgr said

      Hi Martin,

      LOL – that Burns chap is a serious drain 🙂

      As far as convincing my current employer to let me change I’m not sure I gave them too much of an option. I was originally hired as a dba and when I became TL nothing changed contractually.

      Anyway, I do feel happier for it even though at the moment I’m still waiting to handover the work.

      You have touched on something though – the reskilling… I’ve booked myself in for some in-house replication training in the early part of April to prepare myself for the rigours of the technical world.

      We’ll see how it goes!


  4. […] Friday Philisophy – To Manage or to Not Manage March 26, 2010 Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, Management, Uncategorized. Tags: Management, rant trackback Recently a friend of mine Graham Oaks blogged about his decision to step back from management and return to the Technical Coal Face. […]

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hector Martinez, Tony van Esch. Tony van Esch said: To be or not to be … a manager http://bit.ly/dksikN #yam […]

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