Yom Kippur starts at sundown tonight, with a stirring service where vows are forgiven, paired with gorgeous music (usually singing and cello).  It’s a somber and serious holiday where many Jews fast, wear white, and do an accounting of their “soul” in preparation for the dawning new year.  The Al Chet and Ashamnu (collective confession) prayers are recited up to 10 times during Yom Kippur.  Plenty of opportunities for us to recognize our foibles and resolve to do better!

great job.JPGThis morning, I woke up reflecting about the growth of my co-workers since I started my most recent job last Thanksgiving.  Just yesterday, a colleague ran a report in Salesforce for the first time, generating a mailing list for an upcoming grant announcement.  This was a huge milestone for her, and she was so excited that she exuberantly offered me a “high-five” and resolved to incorporate Salesforce skills into her professional development goals for next year.  I can’t wait to see how she grows into a database maven in her own right!

Sure, this is a success story, but I also felt compelled to think about where I’ve missed the mark as a database admin, and where I could have done more to support my team, contribute to our efficiency, or follow best practices.  So here’s an Al Chet for database admins – add your own in the comments if you’re so inspired!

As database admins, we have made mistakes.

We ask for forgiveness and compassion:

  • For testing in Production, when we should have tested in a Sandbox
  • For cleaning data via ETL, when we should be doing root cause analysis
  • For acting or feeling impatient or exasperated with Users
  • For assuming something was “common sense” and missing an opportunity to help someone build their skills
  • For pulling reports with the wrong criteria
  • For making a decision without updating documentation
  • For gossiping about user error
  • For being stubborn instead of flexible or generous
  • For showing off
  • For failing or forgetting to credit mentors, colleagues, or tech support agents for solutions, whether due to pride or forgetfulness
  • For avoiding/ignoring calls from Sales Reps
  • For creating fields and never actually putting them on a page layout or in a process
  • For giving bad advice without realizing it
  • For being jealous of my time
  • For losing track of commitments or breaking a promise (“I’ll do it right when I get back to my desk!”)
  • For delegating work that I could do myself
  • For keeping work that would be more appropriate to delegate
  • For missing opportunities to uplift others and recognize their achievements
  • For demanding time during staff meetings to advance database functions over other needs
  • For making List Views instead of teaching users how to make their own
  • For seeing information that was not my business, and letting that information influence me
  • For creating fields without help text (or without a clear purpose)
  • For misjudging how long a project will actually take – or setting unrealistic expectations
  • For initiating unintended consequences or “downstream effects”
  • For automated notifications that fired too regularly or never at all
  • For blaming other people or technology itself for issues instead of taking full responsibility
  • For giving overly technical explanations  – or overly vague explanations – or saying “this is just how it is” without taking the time to really explain
  • For pushing my agenda/solution instead of listening with compassion
  • For being too proud to admit when I am stuck
  • For being too proud to admit my mistakes
  • For being too proud to do tedious tasks on time
  • For procrastinating
  • For temporarily giving up on cultural change/user adoption
  • For hurting feelings or contributing to disempowerment or shame
  • For messing up data, fixing it before anyone finds out, and hiding the whole affair
  • For saying something was impossible, when it was actually inconvenient
  • For saying something was impossible, without doing enough research
  • For missing a “corner case”
  • For going over budget
  • For being unprepared at meetings
  • For leading a training with staff… then realizing that the protocol has to change again
  • For making some processes more efficient at the expense of other processes, requiring more data entry, or (whether on purpose or by accident) creating work for other people in the name of “clean data” without fully owning the consequences
  • For not following Best Practices, even when we knew them
  • For not following Best Practices that we didn’t even know about
  • For mistakes that we have confessed, and mistakes that are still a mystery to us (we are sorry for those too!)


We have gone astray;


We have led others astray.

For all these transgressions, grant us pardon and forgiveness!  We have messed up (whether accidentally or on purpose); but we can and we will do better!

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