10 Ways your cubicle says you love data

There are many ways to say, “I love you.” Greeting card companies, chocolatiers and pastry shops are on top of Valentine’s Day. As I sit I look around my office, I realize that I send out the message, “I love data.” Let’s take a look at the things in my cubicle that brands me as a data-lover.

  1. Lots and lots of data models – My cubicle walls are covered with gallery sized plotted data models. Some are rolled up on my desk. Smaller ones are in neat stacks. I typically work on ERwin on my laptop with a data model displayed on my auxiliary monitor.
  2. Data swag, lots of data swag and conference badges – These are my data badges of courage, the data nerd’s version of the runner’s badges. Rather than race medallions and ribbons, I hang conference lanyards with badges adorned by vendor swag. I am not much of a fan of useless swag, but I must say have a nice collection of data stress balls and pins.
  3. A really big monitor – Size does matter in the IT world. Data modelers have team members green with monitor envy. Nothing makes a data model look better than a super-sized monitor.
  4. Books about data, databases, data modeling – I seldom keep books on my desk but found myself being the self-appointed data modeling Yoda in my organization. I keep my favorite data modeling books handy on my desk to loan to those seeking the wisdom of the data model.
  5. Lists with standard class words, domains, abbreviations, etc. – My walls and flipper cabinets are adorned with 1-page cheat sheets on things data modelers need to know. After seven years at my current employer, you would think I would not need them. Nope, I need that support to be really, really sure that I got it right.
  6. Tom_at_WorkPaper pads and Post-Its – I enjoy sketching out a data design on paper before committing it to a data model in ERwin. I hoard pads from meetings and seminars. I am in love with Post-It notes. They give me a creative outlet when data modeling or gathering requirements in meetings.
  7. Scissors, paper cutters, tape, and tacks – Data modelers are craftier than Martha Stewart. I have become a skilled taper, paper cutter, paper hanger and puzzle solver by piecing together data models over the years. Somewhere there must be a job I can apply this skill to after I retire.
  8. SDLC and methodology posters. Need to know something about our IT methodology? I am the go-to guy. I notice data modelers often become that person. One of my prized posters is an agile scrum cheat sheet. It’s short, sweet, and graphical and tells me what I need to know.
  9. Photos, funny photos, photos of my husband and me – There is life beyond data modeling. Photos are abundant in my cubicle reminding me of the things and people I love. To love your work, you need to love your office. My photos tell visitors and coworkers who I am.
  10. Dilbert daily desk calendar – Mine is usually a day or two behind. No IT desk is complete without the daily Dilbert desk calendar. It gives me a chuckle. Scott Adams has a way of showing that our problems are universal and not isolated to our job, profession, or employer.

My love of data is not going to get any chocolates, roses, a sexy gift or romantic night out this Valentine’s Day. Instead, I offer it this heartfelt poem I penned this morning.

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Life without my data;
What would I do?

I am presenting at Enterprise Data World 2014 in Austin , Texas.  I hope that you will join me in my session: And Other Duties As Assigned – Embracing New Roles to Grow in Your Enterprise. #EDW14

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