Cleaned out my desk…due to COVID-19 remote work

I guess I have had a desk in an office since around Summer 1990 when I first reported for work in San Bernardino. I have moved offices multiple times including across the country twice and did not have a desk for a week or two during those moves. But otherwise I have always had a place where I could leave my stuff at work. A couple of weeks ago I cleaned out my desk, maybe for good, even though I am still employed. Like a lot of people COVID-19 has pushed my work to 100% remote work out of my home. So, it was no surprise that I needed to clean out the stuff I had in my unused cubicle in the office. It is fine, but it still is kind of the end of an era and I am a little nostalgic mainly about the framed pictures and certificates that I am disposing of, several of which I have had for two decades. Of course, the funny thing is that the last time I moved desks from one cubicle to another I put all these framed pictures and certificates in a drawer and have never gotten the energy to put them back up again. I can never get them that straight when I hang them up. Anyway, while I was off work on Wednesday, I took all the pictures and certificates out of their frames. Will probably donate the frames and throw away the pictures if they are duplicates. But the certificates are a record of my efforts at self-improvement at work.

Kind of a sad image of all my work pictures out of their frames

These are my family pictures that I had at work. I have had some of these at work for over 28 years. Of course, like I said, I had these in a drawer at work anyway! Most of these are duplicates and one thing about working from home is I see the real people, so I do not need their picture to remind me of them!

Empty frames in my garage ready to be sent to Goodwill

I figured I would donate the frames. I do not plan to hang anything up at home and if we do go back in the office, I think I will just keep images on my computer instead.

Oracle 7 certification before OCP program

This was so long ago. I started on Oracle 7. I think it was 7.0.16. I do not remember much except that it was a hard test for me.

First OCP Test – not an upgrade – I took all the tests

This is the most significant OCP certification. There is so much I could say about my career and my self-development as represented by this point in time. Between the Oracle 7 cert in 1998 and this one in 2003 I went through a time of discouragement in my career and part of that was not pursing the Oracle 8 OCP cert. I had a lot of non-technical things to do at work and the challenge of providing for my young growing family and did not focus on Oracle learning. But when I finally decided to leave my first job, which I thought would be my only and last job, I decided to get OCP certified to help me get a new job and that was when I got my 9i cert. I think I had to pay for an Oracle class out of my own pocket to get this one which was a big deal at the time. Since then all my OCP tests were upgrade exams and my employers have paid for most of my tests. They paid for my first 12c test that I failed but I paid for the one I passed – happy to do it!

10g OCP – cannot remember this at all

I must be getting old because I cannot remember this at all. I just celebrated my 15th year with my current employer so the rest of these OCP certs must have been while here. 3 years per cert seems about the way it goes. I think I was still in South Carolina for this one.

11g OCP cert – I have used 11g a ton

I do not remember this one either, but it was 5 years from the last so that is a little significant. We merged DBA teams into one team around 2010 and I moved to Arizona at that time. We have a ton of 11.2 systems, but I think this was an 11.1 cert.

12c OCP cert – my last one?

This one nearly killed me. I cannot believe it has been 6 years since I took this test. I guess I am due for another one, but I do not know what I would study. Maybe some Oracle cloud cert? 20c? I wrote a couple of blog posts about this one. One reason that I have not had Oracle certs since 2014 is that I have been doing other kinds of self-development such as through Toastmasters.

First Toastmasters Leadership award
First speaking award
Second leader award – next level
Did the first level award again

As you can tell from the certificates, I did a bunch of Toastmasters from 2016-2018. This has been very valuable to me in my career. Toastmasters has really changed the way I think about communicating with other people at work about Oracle database technology. I have put the focus on making myself a better communicator instead of getting frustrated with people who do not understand or agree with things I am trying to say. But since 2018 I have slowed down a bit and the last few months have been a mess with COVID-19. I have not felt like I had time to blog or pursue self-improvement. But hopefully that has changed for the better now. Maybe things will improve going into next year? The big question is what do I work on next for self-development? Oracle certification? Do I develop Toastmasters mastery? Online Computer Science academic studies? Other databases – SQL Server, MySQL, etc? Cloud – the future is cloudy. 🙂

I do not know what the future holds but my desk cleanout and taking my pictures and certificates out of their frames paints a picture of where I have been. What comes next?


About Bobby

I live in Chandler, Arizona with my wife and three daughters. I work for US Foods, the second largest food distribution company in the United States. I have worked in the Information Technology field since 1989. I have a passion for Oracle database performance tuning because I enjoy challenging technical problems that require an understanding of computer science. I enjoy communicating with people about my work.
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