Realities of a baby boomer data architect

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” – Phil Conners (Bill Murray), Groundhog Day

I am a fan of Bill Murray and this quirky movie. This quote could have just as well come from a Scott Adams Dilbert comic strip. As a person who has spent my entire career in large corporate IT shops, I have often pondered that very thought.

Many baby boomers can relate to my current position in the workforce. Retirement is fast approaching; two years for me. I have enjoyed my IT career, especially the twenty five years in data modeling.

I have a responsibility to transition my role. That seems like a simple statement that really isn’t. I don’t fancy myself as an expert but see my knowledge as something valuable that I need to share.

Like many mature workers, my role encompasses more than the simple job description. I am in a profession where the talent pool is small and aging. My skill set is a unique combination of my personal traits, interests, documented job responsibilities and varied other duties as assigned.

I am actively engaged in my departure and transition strategy. I thought it would be worth sharing the realities I discovered in my personal introspection. They are most likely not unique to me.

  1. My job is not out of the box. My job description may be database designer, but my focus has been on many other duties beyond creating an ERD. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly over 25+ years. I offer insight on data beyond the data model.
  2. It’s difficult to find a new me. The chance of not finding a clone to replace me is pretty much a given. The pool of data architects is small. I have a unique combination of talents; as do many people. There is a good chance that parts of my role will be distributed or left unfilled.
  3. Knowing that I made a difference. Pride in my work is important to me. Quality work has always been my priority. I want my coworkers to see the difference I have made over the years. I hope that they will run with my work and make a difference in everything they do.
  4. I am not dead yet. (Still checking off the to-do list.) I have no desire to mark off the calendar days. I am a strategic planner and continue to map out the next few years of my work. I am employed and owe my boss work that helps the enterprise realize the benefits of data.
  5. More chances to share knowledge. I am a communicator and enjoy writing and talking. The coming years give me an opportunity to mentor and educate. I always look for opportunities to tell the story of data to new employees and employees new to the world of data.
  6. Keeping data management fresh. The data management world has changed greatly over my watch. It continues to change faster these days. I continue to keep myself fresh in data technologies. Data architects are on the forefront of realizing and selling the value of data to the enterprise.
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