(I could have also titled this “Never Deny Yourself a Learning Opportunity”, but more on that later.)
This past Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the United States. I have many things to be thankful for, but Thomas LaRock’s recent Twitter post helped me realize I have even more. This Is what he said:
I am #thankful for the many failures I’ve had in life, as they have made me a better person and professional.
Wow. What a great thought. It reminds me of the old Michael Jordan commercial when he listed his many “failures” as the number of shots missed, games lost, etc. Not only have we all failed many times in our lives, but I believe one of the keys to success is not only recognizing those failures but accepting them as important learning opportunities. A coworker of mine jokingly refers to bugs as “opportunities for improvement.” I think he may be on to something.
So, in that spirit, I will share with you an early and very memorable technical failure of mine. It was a long, dark night way back in the computing Mesozoic Era of 1996. I had worked with networks before (anyone remember LANtastic?) but had never used this exciting and relatively new product, Windows NT. My boss was happy to have me learn by configuring the new network overnight, but he insisted it was essential that no one have access to the system drive for fear someone could hack in through the modem. Okay. No problem. In fact, I quickly learned how easy it was. I simply denied read access to the C drive to this group I found called “Everyone.” Soon after that, I learned that the operating system accounts are part of Everyone, and I had effectively turned our server into a very expensive space heater. Well, after panicking and trying to figure out how to contact support, I eventually gave up and started over. After reinstalling the server OS, I proceeded to configure the clients. By the time it was all done, it was well after midnight, but my on-the-job training had been a success. I may have done it the hard way, but I had also learned the power of “deny.” That lesson proved invaluable years later when I began working with SQL Server security.
So, thank you, Thomas LaRock, for your inspirational post. And thank you, Tom Staab, for so many learning opportunities.