From Tech Worker to IT Management: Ten Steps to Success

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Congratulations! You got the promotion!!

Once the excitement and adrenaline rush of a promotion passes, it is common to find yourself staring at the yawning abyss of the unknown. Then you ask yourself the question that we all ask:

Now what?“

Do you know what upper management expects? Do you know where to start? Do you know what a manager does or how to accomplish what is required?

If the answer to any of these questions is no for you, it doesn’t mean they picked the wrong person. It just means that you, like most people, need some definition and a path forward. Once you have a definition of your role and a way to move forward to achievement, the rest of the solutions will begin to write themselves. I want to give you those details and some resources to help guide you as we walk this path together – particularly in the first year. Managing people is a different skill set than being an individual technical contributor, but there is the same degree of challenge and fulfillment to be found in it. People just aren’t as straightforward as technology.

Let’s start now.

(Of course, let’s be honest. It’s not just brand-new managers that feel a bit lost. These steps may pertain to you as well if you’re considering a change to management or even if you’ve been a manager for 20 years.)

In this article I will lay out my ten steps that I developed as I figured out how to be a manager after years as a DBA.

  • Managing expectations – Defining the standard of success. If you don’t know what success is, you are very unlikely to achieve it.
  • Getting organized – Organization skills are vital to being a good manager. Your day is likely going to be filled with paperwork, emails, phone calls, and meetings. You need to be able to find and do all of it.
  • Meeting the team (if you haven’t already) – Every team is different. Every team. Once you have your start on getting organized and understanding your expectations, meet all your team members and see how they work and what they think their roles are. This’ll be a good start in playing on how you need them to work.
  • Defining your strategic vision – You and your team need to know the desired vision of the future both for and from the team. Now that you’ve met the team, this should be easier to do, though certainly not easy.
  • Developing (or revising) long term plans – The team will work best if they have knowledge of what the long-term plans are for the team and the company alike.
  • Counting the loose change – Beyond the central tasks that your team Is responsible, there are probably a lot of other Incidental tasks that the team has acquired along the way. In this section, we’ll discuss what to do with these tasks.
  • Crunching the numbers – Money is the scariest part of management to most people. Don’t worry, while it isn’t impossible, it is a very important task that merits a wee bit o fear.
  • Assessing the day by day – As time passes you need to do many of the previous items… continually. Not only on your own team, but keep your ears open for everything,
  • Team building (Internal) – Getting to know your team and getting you and your team to know the other teams in your department is beneficial when you need to work with them, especially in an emergency.
  • Team building (External) – Same as internal team building, but expanding to your entire organization helps you to know what your customers face daily,

Of course, your mileage may vary, but hopefully this will be as useful in you management journey as it has been to me!

Step One – Managing Expectations

You can’t be successful if you don’t know what the standard of success is. The first question you should ask your new boss is how they will define success for you in the next year. Whatever that answer is, write it down. The answer will become the primary paradigm behind the rest of your decisions. Should the answer be to maintain what you have been given, that might be a real break for your first year, but as you settle into the role, do so with the mindset of looking for ways to raise the standard.

If there is an awkward silence or a nondescript answer to this question, then congratulations! You have an opportunity to step up and define it. This will be the first step of your plan over the next year as you work to learn your new role and determine how you can best drive value to the company in this new place. Take your time with this plan if at all possible; you want it to be in tune with the department and the business in general. It will be revised and polished on an ongoing basis as you learn more or as new needs arise. When you have your finished plan, share it with your boss for their input. Work together on this until you have a common understanding of what success in this new role is going to look like.

Take the time you need to consider the company in general. Where are they in their journey as a corporation? Are they just getting started? Are they going through growing pains? Are there real areas of struggle that will affect you and your team? Or, are they in a happy place of success? The answers to these questions have real implications for you and your approach.

If a company is just getting started, for example, they are more likely to need someone who is ready and able to make a quick assessment of the landscape and have the vision to foresee solutions that will drive value. They will also need someone who possesses the flexibility to change direction at need, and the strategy skills to keep their team from some of the pitfalls that startups typically have, such as lack of cohesion or overestimating the business’ need for budgeted technologies.

On the other hand, if you find yourself part of a successful business, you have time to learn what has constituted that success and how you might contribute to it. However, if the business is in the middle of a crisis, being able to discern the real issues and triage your team’s response effectively will be crucial.

Consider your own skills, strengths and weaknesses, and why you might have been chosen for this role. There is a wonderful book called The First 90 Days which points out that some managers fail during a promotion period because they presume that they simply have to continue doing what they were doing at a previous employer (only more so) and that will satisfy the company’s expectations of them in their new role. This is a whole new role; not necessarily a continuation of your old one (although you might possibly bring some parts of it with you). As you are new to this role, it’s a good idea to identify someone in your tier of leadership or above who is successful and willing to form a mentor/mentee relationship to help you to navigate the waters now that you are swimming in a different ocean.

Step Two – Getting Organized

You’re new to the role, and you are likely to have your hands full sifting through projects and other work that you have inherited. Your meeting schedule could escalate rapidly, and your team will need you frequently as well. There can (and probably will) be a good deal of context switching. If you are new to the company, you may not even know what it is all about yet.

How to cope? The way that many executives of huge corporations do. You get organized. There is a wonderful book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, which is included in the Resource section. It has been the primary approach I use to personal organization, and which I want to share with you now.

Get a planner. It can be OneNote, a TUL planner, a productivity app – whatever works for you. Start by making a list of all the things on your plate.

ALL the things.

You don’t want to keep this stuff in your head. Trying to retain excessive amounts of info in your short-term memory is risky and stressful. You’ll probably be amazed when you make a list how many things there are – and how much better you feel purging it out of cache!  This is your starting point.

Now, start organizing all of this stuff in a way that is meaningful to you. I have found that OneNote works well for me. In my OneNote planner, there is a section group for project work. Each project gets its own section. In that section is everything that needs to be accomplished to call the thing done. Get the information you need on the projects you have inherited and keep them as notes in your planner on the project page. Understanding the project helps to facilitate doing the project. In my planner, I can use my check boxes to keep track of what is done versus what is in process. There is another section group for recurring meetings and notes.

The first section in my planner that stares me in the face every day is called “To Do”, which is all the things I have in flux at a high level. Once a week, I look over everything. Once a day, I’ll look over the To Do list and cross things off as I work that list down (or add to it). The key is to keep up the system you adopt and to use it consistently, and you’ll find that you can handle more than you may have previously realized while dropping fewer plates in the process.

Step Three – Meeting the Team (If You Haven’t Already)

If you don’t know your team, now is the time to schedule an introductory meeting as well as setting aside regular times to meet each member for one-on-one sessions if you can.

An introductory meeting is just what it sounds like. You want to tell them a little bit about you and how you got from there to here, but primarily, you want to hear about them. This should begin to form the picture in your mind of who they are, which will be fleshed out in your one-on-ones with them – which should happen on a regular schedule if at all possible, even if that is monthly or quarterly.

One-on-one meetings are their time to discuss whatever they need to. As you have these conversations, begin assessing their strengths and how they can be used to the business’ benefit. A look at their growth areas. How can you help them develop those challenged skill sets? Would they benefit from mentoring, continuing education, lab environments with scheduled time to practice? Actively helping to shore up growth areas while encouraging and acknowledging areas of strength will show your team members that you are on their side and are invested in their success. If your team is small (say, you and one or two other people), schedule some time with them to go over challenge areas and either work with them to get them over that hump or show them where to look to help themselves.

Ask your team members about their real goals and their SMARTER goals ( What are their aspirations? What about those dreams makes those goals attractive to them? Are they attainable? If so, how can you help them get to where they want to be? When your team is known as a good team to be a part of, it fosters a sense of achievement and cohesion in the team, trust and goodwill outside the team, and ultimately helps form the foundation for an environment that will drive the most value for the business, because it is the team everyone wants to work with, and the team members give their best effort.

While you form an assessment of your team members, don’t forget yourself. What are the strengths that you bring to the team? Where do you fit in, professionally and personally? Where might you need guidance? Be brutally honest about this. Ask your mentor for feedback as well. As a colleague of mine once said, no one begins a job having mastered it. That mastery will take time and effort, and there are always ways to improve. It’s worth noting that as the company goes through changes, it will require changes in your strategy and skill sets as well, so this will be a never-ending process that will challenge you and expand your capabilities. I’ve included a few resources at the end of this that should prove useful.

Remember that you are now also part of another team – the team of managers in your department. If you haven’t met them, now is the time to do it. Find out what they do, how they do it, and how it contributes (or does not contribute) to the department’s success. Also find out their pain points, and how you might help with those. As they see that you are there to work with them, and that you bring something helpful to the table, it should make for more productive relationships.

For instance, say you need to staff up. You interview a candidate, but find they are not a great fit for your team, but think they might be a good fit for another manager in your department who is hiring. Take the time to speak to that manager (or to Recruiting, whichever is more appropriate) and send that candidate their way. If you see a dev team struggling with a slow query and you know your team can refactor it to perform better, extend a friendly offer to help and (better yet!) to show them some basic coding pain points to avoid. This is (obviously) based on the opportunity to do so, or it can be a considered upfront investment of time and effort that you hope will help them, and give you returns in future time recouped, better overall query performance, and team outreach.

Servant leadership is one of the most important components of management. In other words, one of your biggest responsibilities is helping to facilitate the success of the people on your team. I’ll speak to this in more detail later, but working to help individuals as well as the team as a whole can be really important. Never forget that your team’s success is your success as well. However, keeping the balance of servant leadership and leadership when it is necessary is paramount. There are times when a team consensus is important, but other times, while you may want input from the team, the decision really needs to be made by you. It is important not to present something as a choice when it is not a choice. Know that some of these decisions won’t be popular. It will help if you are seen to be fair and genuinely invested in the people you lead. As you grow, gaining the understanding of when to facilitate and when to administrate will be a key factor in your success.

Step Four: Defining your Strategic Vision

Have you been given a vision by upper management for your team? If you have, great! Is that vision for your team realistic and achievable? If not, plan to have a discussion to clarify and address any points of concern you have as soon as possible. Once you have a common vision, consider how your strategies going forward will conform to that vision. If not, now is the time to think about what one looks like.

As mentioned earlier, set aside time to talk with your team on an ongoing basis. While sometimes it can just be unstructured time, regularly having a topic can be helpful, too.

For example, you might gather the team together (with no agenda; you want fresh, uninfluenced thoughts from each person) and ask the following questions:

  1. What did you think of IT before you started working in it? What led you to think that? Were you right?
  2. How does the rest of the company perceive your team? Are they correct? Why or why not?
  3. How would you like for our team to be perceived? What can we do to foster and evangelize that message?

Talk this through and out of this a common vision should begin to coalesce. It will be your job to bring this into alignment with the culture and philosophy of the business. You want buy-in to make this work. If the team is not in consensus, at best, you’ll get grudging acceptance. You want active cooperation.

Come to an agreement regarding a vision statement and steps that can be taken and write them down. This conversation will be quickly forgotten, so it will fall to you to track how your team conforms to that vision and to keep it fresh in their minds. As you make your one or two-year plans, ask yourself how you will lead each project in the way that will help reinforce and broadcast this message within and outside of the team.

Step Five: Developing (or Revising) Long-Term Plans

You may have inherited some form of a long-term plan with the job. You should become familiar with this as quickly as possible. Read it carefully. Do you understand it? Are the goals achievable? If you believe they are, can you visualize how they will be implemented? If you understand the goals and think they are achievable, write the steps in your planner when you get the opportunity. This will help later when you are in the thick of the trees and forget what forest you just entered.

If you read this plan and think it isn’t realistic, set a time to meet with your supervisor to discuss it. You may have lost staff, or it may have been a while since the plan was reviewed holistically. Perhaps you have found that it will conflict with the plans of other teams or other project work that your team has recently been given.

All of these scenarios call for adjustments. Being proactive and ready with solid reasons why there are problems with the current team plans (and hopefully, standing ready to provide alternative solutions to the issues) will tell your supervisor that you are on the ball and already delivering value in your new position. This brings up an important point that a colleague once voiced. He said that his father was an executive and had told him as a boy to try never to bring a problem to a supervisor’s attention without a possible solution. Take the time before you meet to analyze the issues and possible workarounds. If there are none, be prepared to discuss the avenues you pursued to come to that conclusion.

Review you team’s plan periodically as appropriate (once a quarter is usually a good goal) and update as needed. Make sure you touch base with your team and get their input. If they don’t see the goals set as achievable, find out why. You’ll need to come up with solutions here as well. Be prepared to discuss alternative approaches, such as optimizing time by working ahead on items where you can during lags where you are waiting on other teams, or prioritizing critical objectives, leaving the nice-to-haves as backlog items.

Discuss and explore ideas with your team to reach your goals, and be sure to not put too much on the board if at all possible. Especially if you are an implementer team, it is likely you will be pulled into other project work and you don’t want to drive your team into the ground trying to accommodate everyone. A plan that is balanced with flexibility will ultimately be a stronger one. So if, for example, you are planning a major upgrade of all your servers, be sure to give breathing space before the upgrade begins (and especially after if at all possible) to prepare and to recover so you can go into the next big project fresh and not too behind on your day-to-day or backlog items.

Step Six: Counting the Loose Change

At this point you are feeling great, you are organized (or getting there) you and your team have a strategic plan and are feeling great. You have also probably noticed that along with the duties you expected, you probably inherited a bunch of incidental projects and emails about a number of different things you are now responsible for. Just like everything else, these go into your planner. Each one gets their own page. Invest the time you need to go through these tasks.

My old software engineering professor once said that the first step to any coding project is to understand the work. Take the time to understand the work you’ve just inherited, to ask questions, to come up with a plan of attack, then start knocking out the most time-sensitive stuff first. Where you see items that can be done in ten minutes or less, just do them. This is the exception to the planner rule, since it takes more time to record tiny tasks than it does to accomplish them. As you work your way through the loose change tasks, you will see a snowball effect begin to happen as the more small stuff and the time-sensitive items roll away, leaving you more time to get to the other things. You should find that you can more quickly knock legacy items off this list, this leave room for the projects that were your ideas from start to finish!

Step Seven: Crunching the Numbers

Now it’s time to look over the budget. No one likes this part, but they like it even less if the numbers are not there when they are needed, so tackle it head-on. First of all, do the numbers look realistic to you? Not sure? Can you get last year’s budget and expenditures for comparison?

If the budget as it stands doesn’t look workable to you, try to = provide proof of why the numbers should change? Get this information together and go over it with your supervisor. Be sure any projected spending is included. If you have enough data to trend spending, try to take this into account when doing your next year’s budget – just be prepared to explain your reasoning with actual metrics and figures.

You may find you have to prioritize. If the economy is down, for instance, the budget for the new staff person you were hoping for may have evaporated before your eyes. That means you will have to be more creative and resourceful for a while. You can look for ways to automate, or try to bring in a consulting firm to do some of the work for you at a cheaper rate (as long as you trust the quality of their work). If this is your scenario, prioritize and be clever. You can probably do more than you think you can. In the meantime, collect metrics. If you didn’t get that new staff person and your team is keeping the ship afloat, but you can demonstrate that the workload increased over the last six months such that they are being crushed under the weight, you may have a better chance of getting that staff person sooner than you did before.

Use metrics to brag on your team when they do a great job. If, for instance, someone on your team comes up with an automation idea that takes a deployment from an hour to seconds, or someone else deploys an indexing strategy that brings the I/O on one your instances down by 70%, you want to broadcast that message. Most technical victories like this will also save money.

You may find that the best way to do this is to offer to submit a monthly or quarterly metrics report to upper management. Use graphs and tables to help tell your story, and show progress. This not only evangelizes the message of the good work your team is doing and showing that you are steering the ship effectively, but if you do wind up needing to ask for extra staff, you will have already built a factual supporting case to help your cause.

Step Eight: Assessing the Day-to-Day

In this section we’ll talk about getting to know all the players in your organization. And continually gathering metrics on your team, your processes, and any hardware that you might manage. You didn’t think you’d only have to do this stuff once, did you?

Get to Know all the Players

Time to make another list, and to check it twice.

What is your team responsible for? Are you an application owner? Do you manage a server farm? Are you a DBA? Do you know what happens to the company if something you oversee goes down, or who to contact when (not if!) that happens?

One important thing to do is to get to know the other managers – and not just those in your department, but in the business. You don’t want the first point of contact to be an emergency – you want to have the bond of familiarity in place long before then. When people know you, there is grace to cover a lot of potential misunderstandings that naturally occur in stressful situations. It also gives them the chance to see that you are genuinely there to help them before you need help yourself.

If people understand that the person in front of them is credible, competent and helpful, they generally want to help that person in return. Taking the time to talk to them in the lunch line, to have casual conversations in the break room, or perhaps to hang out a little at company events – all of these things help you to get to know each other and form a bond of good will. When an emergency happens (again, when, not if!), that level of comfort will help you both. At least you won’t be dealing with a total stranger and another level of unknown.

If you think that misunderstandings under stress can’t happen to you because you communicate clearly, take a look at the peanut butter sandwich video. This one was done with a dad and his son, but has also been used in management workshops to underscore how easily miscommunication happens. Remember to give the grace and understanding to them that you want for yourself. They are no more or less human than you are, and while they will sometimes make mistakes you don’t understand, rest assured the same thing will be true in reverse. Mistakes are usually just opportunities to strengthen processes – not to undermine cohesion by pointing fingers.

Try to spend some time with other teams outside of IT and see how they use the technology your company provides. Invite them to do a lunch and learn with your team, explaining that you would like to better understand what they do, how they use your technology, and what their pain points are. The better you understand this, the more effectively you can help them. Be willing to return the favor and let them see behind the curtain. This can be eye-opening and a great chance to come together with a new respect for what each other does. After all, the more they know about what you do, the less likely they are to think you are “just IT”.

Gathering Metrics

Metrics are everything in IT (okay, in all of business). You use metrics to tell the story of how things are going – to find out what is good, what is bad, and what is likely to become bad in the near future. When you go into a leadership position, you will continue to use these kinds of numbers and will add a few more.

If you have a good handle on your hardware/software and your processes, let’s begin to assess your team as a whole and your people. Is your team being overworked or underworked? Is the level of work consistently burdensome, or does it come in peaks and valleys? If it is sometimes frantically busy, but usually manageable, that’s one thing. If it is consistently a hair-on-fire environment, that is a problem you will need to address – either with staff, automation, tools – or all three.

Consider your team. Who is productive? Who is not? It’s going to be important to gain clarity into your team’s work dynamic if you are going to be an effective manager and advocate.

Once you have a clear picture of how your team is (or is not) working, it’s time to look at the why of it all. For example, perhaps your team is widely considered to be extremely productive, but you find that the pace is unsustainable. Alternatively, maybe you see one very productive member of your team consistently taking up the slack for someone else. What could you do to help strengthen the less productive team member and bring up their performance? One possible answer would be to schedule a one-on-one session with them to see their perspective on the issue. Are they new to the role? It may be that you need to allow for time to grow into their new position, just as you are growing into your own. It may be that extra training is necessary. Could the productive member of your team do a lunch and learn for everyone? Does the struggling person need resources on time management? In the worst-case scenario where you’ve explored alternatives and nothing seems to be working, is it a matter of them being a bad fit for your team, but perhaps they a successful addition to a different one? Answering these questions will help you to help to strengthen overall performance and will give you the best opportunity to help those team members who are not as strong.

Additionally, as you check your team assessment against your short and long-term goals, consider the strength and growth areas of each team member as you assign work. If you know someone has a strength that aligns well with a critical project, it’s a no-brainer! On the other hand, if a project is not time sensitive and would allow someone to strengthen their skills in an area where they need growth, it could be a good opportunity for them. Try to remember to not just think in terms of projects, but of people. As you offer opportunities to strengthen the skillsets of each team member, you optimize the opportunity to strengthen the team at large.

Stepping out a bit farther, take a final look at your day-to-day. How does it align with your long-term plans? If you are getting so consumed in your everyday work to even think about your long-term goals, then it is time to reprioritize with your supervisor or to consider what resources you may need to ensure the goals you have been assigned are met.

Step Nine: Team Building (Internal)

Simply put – your team is everything. Invest in it. Make it strong, by building relationships in your team and department.

How do you do this? First of all, your team needs to be able to trust your leadership. They need the confidence of knowing you are their advocate, that you are fair, that you are the line of defense – and that the buck ultimately stops with you.

Providing security by giving definition on job expectations at each point in the career pathways on your team is vitally important, as is partnering with them as they work toward success in their pathways. If you don’t have career pathways, now is the time to suggest them! These should be measurable and specific whenever possible, although some assessment points will always be judgment calls.

Part of your job will be providing feedback. Always keep feedback fact-based, constructive and provide examples. When your team members know exactly where they stand with you and what the end goal is, it helps to decrease stress and increase security and cohesion. Reviews should never be a surprise, but the logical conclusion of a year’s worth of ongoing conversation and work together.

When you are at a place where you can upstaff, look for the best combination of skillset and overall fit with the existing team that you can find. Having a team where each member contributes to the common vision will help to prevent premature turnover and will facilitate a more seamless onboarding experience. Try to ensure that their personal goals align well with the goals you have for your team. If, for instance, you know that you only have room for one person, but a lot of busy work, try to look for someone with an aptitude for automation while assisting with the day-to-day. Alternatively, if your business is considering a cloud migration, and you can only afford a new person, you might look for someone who has some basic necessary skills and a willingness to work over into the rest to assist with keeping the lights on while you train other(s) on your team for the initial ramp up.

Try to find opportunities to help your team come together and bond where appropriate, and to communicate with other teams. For instance, consider a team whiteboard with a Kudos Corner, an area to record progress in projects and initiatives, and a fun area (like a word of the day). Now, team members know they are seen – not just by you, but by other teams as they come by. The human eye can’t seem to pass a whiteboard without scanning the contents. You may even find that it starts conversations with other teams about how your plans might align with theirs, or how to reschedule to ensure that they do. If so, even better!

Consider fun team-building activities. Not all of these need to be budget-busters! Consider a scavenger hunt where the team will have to follow clues that will lead them to other teams to get the next clue they need to find their holiday gift – which doesn’t need to be expensive, only meaningful or fun. This is not only enjoyable, but will require them to have (and gain) a better understanding of what the other teams do in order to decipher the clue and have a great time doing it. Escape rooms are a great team-building exercise. Partner team dinners are another option. Maybe the DBAs go out to dinner with the Infrastructure or Networking teams. Next time, they go out with a business team. Keep ideas in your planner to pull out when a little team bonding seems beneficial.

Step Ten: Team Building (External)

No team exists in a vacuum. Outreach is important. IT has the reputation of being the people in the basement that no one ever sees. Let’s change that! Reach out to other managers outside of IT and maintain those relationships. The better you understand what they do, their pain points and what you can do to help (and vice versa!), the better chance you will have of building a better relationship, fostering trust and cooperation. You may find that you inherit a team where relationships with some parts of the organization has been rocky. The rockier the historical relationship was before you, the more important this will be. Turning that ship around will benefit you both.

One of the most important things you can do to foster a good relationship with other teams is ensuring that you and your team stay out of the blame game as much as possible. That is easier said than done in some places, I know, but that’s where you are, consider it your own personal challenge and your opportunity to be the change you want to see. Keep thinking process oriented as far as possible, instead of engaging in finger pointing. Focus on these three questions:

  • Where did the process break down?
  • How can it be fixed?
  • How can it be improved?

In the case of a well-designed process, a person should not be easily able to break it! Broken processes are not generally occasions for blame, but for improvement. If, however, you notice things breaking repeatedly, or because process was ignored, it is time to have conversations to address the whys of that and course-correct – hopefully sooner rather than later, if possible.


Stepping into management is one of the biggest, most fundamental jumps you are likely to make in your career. I know that in my own situation, I was following a rock star. When I was offered the role, my first thought was, how do I fill his shoes? Immediately following was the answering thought: You don’t. You make your own shoes.

That instinct has proven to be a true one. I didn’t have all his strength areas. I had my own and needed to hone those to my own best advantage and to serve the team I was called to lead. I initially wrote this guide for myself in attempt to collect my thoughts about making my own shoes. It has worked for me, and I hope it will work for you as well. Know that it will take time for you to find your sea legs and feel comfortable with all of this.

Maybe more importantly, know that you will make mistakes in the process, or just be flat-out wrong on some things. That’s okay. Remember it is about process, not individual fault, no matter what anyone tells you. Apologize sincerely, go back, do the work to analyze where things went off the tracks, and come up with a plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t let it stop you from contributing or using the gifts that got you here in the first place. Instead, allow it to make you better. And finally, remember to pay it forward by helping someone else rise and improve if and when you can.

I hope that you will find this guide to be helpful, and I wish you every success as you make your own shoes and walk this road. Be excited for where it will take you!


Some suggested reading to help you on your way!

  1. The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. This book covers (you guessed it!) the first 90 days of your new job. He goes through the most common challenges you’ll face and how to keep from making mistakes that might be difficult to rectify. Each chapter has tools, checklists and self-assessments to help keep you on track. If you prefer Audible, it’s a 7-hour listen.
  2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. I cannot recommend this enough to help with organization and time management, and it works with just about any digital or paper interface I can think of.
  3. – This is a fairly quick read, and they are all the right questions to ask.
  4. – I found this one after reading through the prior link and further exploring the site, which is rich with resources. It’s not a long read. Just an impactful one.


About the author

Pamela Mooney

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Pam Mooney is a Senior Database Administrator who works for a financial institution in the St. Louis area who loves teaching, automating processes, mentoring, and investigating obscure parts of SQL Server. When Pam isn't working, she loves gardening, scuba diving, reading history, kayaking, and seeing new places and things. Find Pam on Twitter as @pamelamooney or on her blog, The Noncluttered Index (

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