Being Positive – Why I love my job!

As Brits we like to moan! We complain about the weather, we complain about queues, we complain about our politicians, we complain about each other. I’m no exception and I’ve been known to have be muttering under my breath for a whole variety of reasons. Maybe, someone is dawdling (I love that word) along when I’m trying to get somewhere, or a driver in front of me is being particular frustrating.

However, it’s a very slippery slope that can lead to always seeing the negative side of things. In reality we don’t often appreciate, or feel gratitude for what we do have.

There is a fantastic psychotherapist in the UK called Richard Nicholls who produces a regular podcast called Motivate Yourself (it was #1 in the uk podcast charts for a while, which was where I came across it). His short, 15 min monthly podcasts always seem to hit the mark, covering very relevant topics. His most recent podcast, titled “The Gratitude Attitude” was all about how we take things for granted. I’m actively trying to be a more positive person, follow many of Richard’s teachings and suggestions. It got me thinking about my job.

Most of us have a good moan about work from time to time. We complain that we are overworked, underpaid, and not appreciated. So, I decided to flip this on its head. I sat down to think about all of the positive things about my job that I am grateful for and decided to make a list. Here are ten things I came up with:

  1. I have a job

It shouldn’t be taken for granted. Not everyone does.

  1. I get paid a salary I can live on

Yes, many of us want a higher salary, but I see that as my challenge, to constantly improve my career, my prospects and my circumstances if I want to continue to climb the salary scale or the career ladder.

  1. I work with some great people

Extremely talented, professional individual

  1. I get to meet lots of people

In a customer-facing role, I constantly meet new, exciting, and interesting people

  1. I get to travel

My job gives me the benefit of regular travel both in the UK and internationally. I have seen places I wouldn’t have otherwise visited had it not been for my job.

  1. I work with cutting-edge tech I like technology

That’s why I work in IT. Working for an IT vendor I constantly get to play with the latest and greatest innovations.

  1. I work in a great industry

Cyber Security is hugely topical with the growing number of data breaches year on year. I am in the thick of the industry trying to protect organizations

  1. I get to balance my home and work life

Unlike some previous jobs where I was away a lot, my current job enables me to spend a more time at home with my family.

  1. Recognition

Ok, this one is a bit vain, but who doesn’t like to be recognized when they are working hard and doing a good job? I seem to have a good reputation at work, which means I get positive feedback.

  1. I’m healthy

Is this strictly related to my job? Maybe, maybe not. My work does involve lots of sitting around at desks, but also means I am in a clean environment, and, my working flexibility means I can pop out for that run if I want to. Give and take is important.

Could I have written a list of 10 negative things about my work? Of course I could. However, I chose to focus on the positive. Concentrating on what is good and what I am grateful for. All too often I see colleagues moaning about what isn’t working, or what they don’t like and that only leads in one direction, an endless downward spiral, which isn’t where I want to be.

Don’t get me wrong, next time you see me, I won’t always be a ‘happy clappy’ euphoric individual. I might even still moan a bit, but I am trying to be more positive.


2018 – Autonomy vs Automation

At OpenWorld 2017 last year (it still seems strange saying last year), Oracle announced “The world’s first Autonomous Database”. The marketing literature states:

 “Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud eliminates complexity, human error, and manual management, helping to ensure higher reliability, security, and more operational efficiency at the lowest cost.”

When I first heard about the autonomous database, I didn’t quite get it. I’m no database expert but I thought that we had database management well in hand. I know DBAs with decades of experience who can manage databases with their eyes shut, usually using lots of scripts and automation.

So, what’s different about the new Oracle Autonomous Database? The penny dropped for me when I realised the differencet between automation and autonomy. A common misunderstanding is that Oracle has just automated the database. That is not the case.

Automation refers to a set of sequential steps that have are executed in order, usually using a script. Think of an unattended installer. You give it the settings and it executes a number of predefined steps to install your piece of software with the settings you define. Another example might be a DBA who has written a script to automate the patching of a server. The script will run through a series of steps, such as, connect to the server, upload the patch, execute the patch, verify the patch, then, restart the server. Both of these are examples of automation, not autonomy.

When Oracle talks about the Autonomous Database, they aren’t saying that they have just written a number of scripts to automate several steps, they are talking about autonomy, i.e. self-management.

What this means is that, as the administrator, you will define the parameters within which the database must operate and the database will take care of that for you. For example, you will define the service level you need, or the information retention policy you must enforce. Then, the database will do the rest, under the covers to meet that requirement. No more setting up RAC or DataGuard to configure HA and DR.

From a security perspective, the Autonomous Database also reduces the risks associated with manually managed databases. Yes, we have some very clever and experienced DBAs with mature scripts, but, in today’s world of increasing cyberattacks and more data breaches than ever before, against larger and more sensitive data, we need to remove as much of the manual processes associated with security as possible. There will, of course, always be a need for some manual intervention, but the security posture in any organisation, and the response to any threat needs to be more rapid than waiting for an overworked DBA or SOC Analyst to get around to dealing with it.

For example, the Autonomous Database will patch itself regularly with the latest patches and always enable encryption, so you don’t inadvertently leave data stored in the clear.

At the moment, industry is losing the cat and mouse game against the cyber criminals. Looking beyond databases, I can see lots of other places where autonomy, underpinned by capabilities such as machine learning, will play a crucial role in the cyber war in the near future.  There is a long way to go, but it’s an exciting time at Oracle, seeing the emergence of technologies such as the Autonomous Database, as well as our newly designed Identity SOC, really looking at how they address this changing threat landscape using the latest and greatest innovations.

2018 is going to be an exciting year.