TL;DRToday is my last day with SentryOne.
And burnout has been kicking my ass HARD. But I've mostly defeated it and am looking forward to what's coming next.
A RetrospectiveJust over four years ago, I had the fortune to join SentryOne. And today, that journey comes to a close. I am forever grateful for this fantastic chapter of my career and wanted to blog a bit about it (mostly for me, but if you're here, hope you enjoy the story too).
Never Dreamed I'd Be In Sales... and LIKE ITWhen I was a very young child, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and said a "salesman." My father was in sales, which is most likely why I gave such an answer. But then I discovered video games, which drove me to computer science, and while eventually lead to databases and SQL Server. In 2013, I started speaking and found that I was good at it but really loved it. Through speaking and events, I met many wonderful people including Scott Fallen, who recruited me into SentryOne, as a Solutions Engineer (aka a pre-sales engineer).
When I started as an SE, I never knew such a role even existed. And in my first few months, I thought I made the worst mistake of my life! At that point, I knew how to present, teach, train, and consult. But there's a different nuance with a pre-sales role. You do all of those things yet you don't do any of them fully. Eventually it clicked in my brain, that I needed to not teach and explain, but rather to showcase, highlight, and most importantly, listen. Once I figured that out, I grew as a pre-sales engineer and found that it was one of the most rewarding roles I've ever had. It's true... I came to love pre-sales.
Change Is Inevitable - 2020We all know how everything changed in March of 2020. What followed for me through the remainder of 2020, was a great deal of personal, community, and professional changes.
PersonalAm not going to blog details publicly, but 2020 brought about many lows but some very wonderful highs too. And at the end of 2020, I moved to Boston to start a new chapter of my life there.
ProfessionalIn the course of my career, I'd been a part of SEVEN acquisitions and/or mergers. I dodged two more, as those were coincidentally announced after I had given notice but before I'd left the respective company.
The craziest one was when Lehman Brothers shuttered. My company was a wholy-owned subsidiary of Lehman Brothers. I distinctly remember our CEO calling an all-hands Monday morning, telling us straight up that we had two weeks of money to pay everyone, and that he'd be spending every waking minute trying to find us a new home. He was successful and we had new ownership four days later.
Another job of mine seemed like a fantastic home for me. That company was a small start-up that had just been acquired. I was the first hire under the new parent company. Unfortunately, conflicts arose with another key employee and the environment became toxic, so I left after seven months. That worked out for the best because the next year, the parent company terminated almost everyone who had been acquired!
In October 2019, SentryOne was acquired, making it acquisition number eight for my career journey. It's frankly annoying how I frequently find myself at companies that get acquired! In some acquisitions, nothing really changed except the company name, e-mail addresses, and HR stuff. But other cases, well, a hell of lot changes. And not all change is for the better either.
CommunityAs a speaker, I continued to be extremely active as we shifted fully online. I wound up presenting MORE in 2020 after March, than in all of 2019, thanks to everything being virtual. As a user group leader, I embraced the virtual path and started hosting meetings twice a month.
But when the end of the year rolled around, I came to a powerful realization - I was BURNED OUT HARD.
Fighting Burnout - 20212021 rolled on in, bringing about many new changes. Deborah and I bought a new place together in Boston. As awesome as that is, moving and "new home to-do's" are still a significant stressor. And I was still feeling burnout and stressed. The good thing is that I was aware and conscious of it, so tried to mitigate it as best I could.
The hardest and easiest mitigation was electing to cut back on my community involvement. I relinquished my leadership role in the Chicago Suburban User Group. I opted to not speak at all during Q1 2021. And I reduced my speaking engagements dramatically the remainder of 2021.
Finally I drastically reduced my social media presence and consumption. There were a number of controversies in the community, especially earlier this year, where I opted to remain silent. Frankly, I got to the point where I might only open Twitter once a day or only check DMs and that's it. It's been good for my mental health, but I do miss interacting with #SQLFamily.
What Brings You Joy?When my first 2021 speaking engagement rolled around, I'll confess that I found myself dreading it. I did not have the energy or the desire to do it. I wondered if this was finally the sign that I should stop speaking entirely.
But a commitment is a commitment and I'm glad I went through with it. I found that when "the lights went on and the curtains opened," I rediscovered the joy of speaking and presenting. I recognized that it was my burnout that made me dread it. But in the end, I did miss it and still loved presenting.
Mourning the PastAside from speaking, I did my best to combat my burnout and stress. The summer of 2021 was particularly rough, with a few key setbacks that hampered my attempts to shake off my burnout. But more importantly, I realized that I had been in a cycle of mourning as well, not wanting to accept professional changes. In the end, I stopped resisting, came to terms with the passing of something I loved, and moved on. Once I did, I could finally look forward again and a weight was slowly lifted from my shoulders.
Looking Forward to What's NextI always say that I believe in "counting one's blessings." And a few weeks ago, one of those blessings came in the form of a new opportunity. As excited as I am, I'm going to wait a bit before I share where I'm going next. I'm doing this because I want to focus the next few weeks not on what's next, but on the now. I'll be taking the next month to fully recharge and eliminate any remaining burnout of 2020/2021. I'm done with burnout bullshit and am eager to move forward again.
24 thoughts on “End of Another Chapter”
I’m so happy you got past the burnout. You’re a gem, and you bring joy to folks around you. Your smile is infectious. Hugs, man!
Oh thank you Brent! You’re too kind!!! *hugs*
Great post! (Especially the articulation of the nuances of being in pre-sales.) Excited to see where your next adventure takes you, Andy. Working with you was certainly one of the highlights of my time at SentryOne.
Thank you Michele! I still fondly remember one of our first chats, on the way to Savannah at SKO, and thinking “damn, this’ll be awesome to have someone on board who GETS IT!”
Andy good luck on the new gig. I know whatever it is you will put your heart & mind to making it yours. Burnout sucks. Just keep moving forward things will get better, eventually we all just have to hang on. I look forward to seeing you once again in person at some event. I miss you man.
Thank you Jim! Definitely am trucking along as best I can. Miss you too dude!
Thank you, Andy, for the honest review of your highs and lows! With you being vulnerable, the true you shine even more 🙂 All the best in your new endeavours!
Congrats on the new gig and HUGE HUGS for all the other crap. Burnout, frustration, ++ is so real for so many right now! I’m glad you’re working through it Andy! I look forward to reading / hearing more!
Thank you Kimberly!
I want to say it’s been a pleasure and an honor to represent SentryOne for SQLskills. Thank you for having me, letting me crash your classes, and steal your students, LOL!
I’m glad you’re through to a new adventure. The timing is probably perfect now that you’re settling into Beantown more and more. We miss you in Chicagoland. I’m not worried about you at all. Not many folks have the ability to be so kind and helpful while also being very real. Best of luck!
Miss you and my Chicago friends too! Hope you’re doing well!
Andy, I think this blog was meant to land in my lap today, I’m thankful you wrote it.
Am glad for that, thank you for sharing. Hope it helps give you some perspective and a nudge in a positive direction!
Congrats on finding a new direction to move forward. Burnout is hard and I’ve struggled a few times with it, but having friends and family around helped me.
I miss seeing you and hopefully I’ll get the chance in 2022 to catch up in person with you. For now, I’ve enjoyed watching the journey to Boston and the pictures. Looking forward to your first concert on guitar somewhere 😉
Thank you Steve. I miss seeing you too and am eagerly awaiting when we can cross paths once again!! And can you believe that I really haven’t learned a song yet? I’d been focusing on beginner chords, timing, and other more mechanical & fundamental stuff.
Congratulations Andy. I miss you meeting in person at PASS Events in Seattle but I wish you all the best and Good luck in your next venture. Take time for yourself and relax . Nothing is more important than Health. All the best to you again.
Congratulations on the new gig Andy. It has been a pleasure working with you. I fully understand and appreciate “… [coming] to terms with the passing of something I loved”, as I’m right there with you. Best wishes for peace and joy as you move forward, both professionally and personally.
Thank you Justin! It was a pleasure to be your colleague. We had a great run.
Hello Andy, I always have good memories of interacting with you through PASS and similar tech interests, and I wish you all the best.
Like you, I kept away from all the various tech community issues for many reasons. I realize that what people don’t change, they are choosing, and you can’t do anything about it. It is sad that all the controversies chase away nice people and I hope you find more nice people in your life.
Thank you for the honest blog and it made me think so I didn’t come back directly, but I thought I’d let you know that you deserve good things and I hope you look after yourself too.
I wish you all good things to you and yours, and I hope our paths will cross again. Kind Regards, Jen
Congrats Andy. No one in the SQL community deserves happiness and satisfaction more than you. Good luck.