Saturday, October 25, 2008

DBA Stress and retaining DBAs.

Excellent article by Michael Corey in Database Trends and Applications Magazine on DBA burnout and DBA retention. I agree with most of what he says, except for this bit in Lesson 3:
In my businesses, I have always tried to pay in the dead center of the curve. Fifty percent of the companies pay better, and the others pay worse. I then try to provide a work environment that is respectful, challenging and fun.
Address :

In this market I think retention of good DBAs with that philosophy would still be difficult. Good DBAs can easily move further up the curve and still find a work environment that is respectful, challenging and fun. As he says, we all have families to feed, super to put away and over valued property to pay off or rent.

I couldn't agree more with this bit though - Lesson 5:
Stress is your biggest enemy. The world of the DBA is an incredibly stressful one and it is even worse in smaller organizations. If you have only one DBA, he or she knows that they alone have to keep the database up and running, or the business will stop running. This causes the Atlas Syndrome, named after the Greek myth of the Titan condemned by Zeus to hold up the heavens on his shoulders.

Providing adequate staffing and opportunities for mentoring can help your DBAs reduce the stress and burden. Companies can also augment their in-house DBA staff by contracting with a remote DBA firm, a new breed of vendor offering database expertise and support. The remote DBA firms, staffed with seasoned database experts, can even offer your in-house DBA mentoring, on-the-job training, and critical support.

Ahem, cough, self endorsement here. I work for Mark Gurry & Associates, an excellent remote DBA and on-site DBA services firm. The company only hires top DBAs (another self endorsement) SO if you are reading this and thinking you would like to take some peak stress off your DBA, or you are a DBA but would like some help now and then, give us a call.

MGA's site:

, , , ,

1 comment:

  1. I just saw your comment about my article in Database Trends and Applications and wanted to first thank you for the kind words. When you write an article like that, you never have the time to fully explain ones self. So let me take some additional time to explain myself.
    Money is one of many factors that effect people and job satisfaction. As a company you have to make choices. In the Boston Market I compete directly with companies like Fidelity. Fidelity has more money that anyone else, and can afford to pay more money then anyone else. In my last company a prospect would come up to me and tell me they would prefer to work for me, but fidelity offered them 30K dollars more a year. Fidelity would pay more than anyone else in the Boston market back then. This was a common occurrence. We never tried to compete on that level. Even if we could have, fidelity could just keep paying more and more. You could change the name of fidelity with Google, or Microsoft or any other big company that has near unlimited resources. If it were just about the money, we would loose every time. What we learned was, it was about the total work environment. The money was just one of many factors.
    I see that you work for Mark Gurry & Associates. I have met Mark. I have a lot of respect for him. I felt Marks book on how to tune an Oracle Database is excellent. Would you please tell mark I said hello. I should say many books. It’s a very small world is it not. Please send him my email address and ask him to drop me a note. Like your company my company specializes in Remote Database Administration. We are the in-house DBA’s best friend. Feel free to checkout my blog at