Oracle Observations

October 25, 2013

Networking with Piet and Martin

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigdaveroberts @ 11:26 pm

Spent a very pleasurable evening a couple of nights ago with a couple of Oracle aces.

(Martin Widlake – yet another oracle blog and Piet De Visser – Simple Oracle DBA @ The farm

Much of the time was spent discussing how our careers were evolving and the reasons for that.

I have come late in my life to the skill of networking.

I have tended to concentrate always on my harder technical skills, essentially putting most effort into developing my strengths rather than trying to ameliorate my weaknesses.

However, several years ago, having been in a secure job for several years supporting a legacy application, it became apparent that my job was not as secure as I believed.

It was at that point I started thinking strategically and laterally with regards my career.

My problems included: outdated technical skills, not being a spring chicken in the IT industry, lack of visibility at my current employer and a prejudice against the skill set that I had with my customer. (I might edit this post later to add more problems!)

The lack of visibility at my employer was the result of coming in under TUPE regulations and being based at a site that was convenient for me and my customer, but where there were almost no other employees with a skill set similar to mine. (It was primarily a marketing and training hub.)

I had recently read about exogenous growth theory beloved by Gordon Brown and I established a strategy!

I stopped spending money as far as I could.
I started studying for an OCP qualification.
I bought as expensive new suit.
I joined the UKOUG and tried to attend as many SIGs as possible.
I started networking, primarily by attending university alumni events but also at UKOUG events.
I started this blog.

Of the above, I suspect that it was the OCP certification that has had most value in the initial relaunch of my career. Although I believe that after I was made redundant,  the fact that I spent part of my own redundancy money to pay for the required training to achieve this qualification was as valuable as the qualification itself.

Networking to my knowledge, was the least value and yet I have continued to pursue this even after securing myself a new role.

Ultimately, while networking hasn’t to my knowledge advanced my career, it has proved extremely pleasurable. I have developed new friendships, gained personal insight and met people with completely different experiences to myself. (Say for example, an ex-lifemodel and someone who had seen Oswald Moseley at Birmingham town hall.)

So, this is a post encouraging you to network in spite of the fact that it has to my knowledge not achieved for me the goals that I set for myself when I started.

Ultimately I’ve achieved other goals and enjoyed them vastly along the way.

My time spent with Piet and Martin constitute a small but significant part of that pleasure!



  1. It was a pleasure, as ever, spending a pint or two with you Dave :-). I know what you mean about the networking not seeming to get you more work, at least initially, but I think in that respect it is a gradual thing that takes years. But networking also has many other benefits, as you cover, and they are more immediate. I’ve also decide that those other benefits are more important.
    I’m very lucky, I have reached the point where work has become almost optional for me but I am going to try and continue to do consultancy for one main reason. I may have enough cookies in the jar to keep me fed but I want extra income so I can keep going to conferences, speaking at SIGs and meeting old and new friends. The networking has become the reason to work rather than the other way around!
    I need to convert this into a Friday Philosophy 🙂

    Comment by mwidlake — November 16, 2013 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  2. […] couple of months ago my friend Big Dave Roberts blogged about the benefits of networking – as in social/business networking as opposed to using hairy string to connect bits of IT kit […]

    Pingback by Friday Philosophy – Network to Work or Work to Network? | Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog — December 20, 2013 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

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