I’m currently drowning in a sea of requests for a number of things, including people wanting me to help them with specific issues, which feels a bit like they want me to do their job for them. I feel a little bit uncharitable saying that, but that’s how it feels.
Let me start by saying I understand what it’s like to be asked to do stuff in your job that you don’t know anything about, and also don’t care about. Sometimes, if you can Google a solution and move on it’s a happy day. Having said that, I’m also aware that I can’t expect every article and blog post I come across to contain exactly what I’m looking for. You have to do a certain amount of digging, mixing & matching and it involves a certain amount of trial and error to get to a solution.
Here’s an example I’ve had recently. I’m not saying this was a case of “do my job for me”. The person in question was very polite and not at all demanding, so I feel safe to use this example, and I’m hopefully not going to offend them.
The interaction started with a question about XMLTABLE. It became clear over time this was actually several points wrapped into one.
- Basic usage of XMLTABLE, explained here.
- Usage of XMLTABLE with a variable, rather than from querying a table, explained here.
- Populating a variable (presumably an XMLTYPE) with XML from a URL, explained here.
- Dealing with network ACLs, which was mentioned in the previous link, but explained more fully here.
- Making HTTPS calls from the database, explained here.
All these pieces were already explained on the website, but there wasn’t one page that put them all together. As a result of that question I added a bunch of extra links between articles to make the situation a little more obvious.
People contact you and from their perspective it’s a one-to-one interaction, but from your perspective it’s a one-to-many, as they are not the only person requesting your time. You end up feeling guilty you can’t help more, and I’m sure some of them think you are being a dick because you are not helping them. This situation just doesn’t scale.
It’s almost impossible for anyone to be an expert these days. You have to mix & match information to get to a solution. If you want a job in IT, you have to develop this ability to find information from several sources and combine it to get to a final solution. If you are expecting someone else to do that for you, you are never going to get anywhere.
PS. In my response to a comment below, I am reminded of some words from Tom Kyte who said, “The more you do, the more people want you to do!” 🙂