Be a Professional (especially if you need a professional help)A few days ago I got a new contact on LinkedIn, something I don’t use very much because I hate social networks with a passion.
The chattering is shown below, and started with a very obscure sentence: R U a postgresql dba.
That is something that in my mind translates into Are you a PostgreSQL DBA?. Note the verb, the noun and the question mark.
Mistake #1: if you are a professional or pretend to be, you must not express yourself as a kid!
The the chat continues with the other person pretending my personal phone number to communicate with me on WhatsApp. No way pal!
Mistake #2: WhatsApp is not a professional way of communication!
I kindly replied that I was there in the case of need, but I answer only emails. I’m not going to share my phone number with anybody, and not because it is secret, but because I keep the right to not answer you on the phone unless I deliberately provided my number.
The chat then continued, but again the other people was referring to me as “bro”, and that’s not very much professional.
Please, do understand: is not that I’m not a friendly person, but since I don’t know you as well as a friend of mine or even a brother of mine, why should be assume I’m here to dedicate my time to you?
And that part of dedicating my own time is something that was clearly out of the mind of the other person: she asked me for a very generic PostgreSQL help as “share documents”** without specifying what he was looking for.
*Mistake #3:* do clearly state what are your problems, what you are looking for and how one can possibly help you.
My time does not value less than yours, so while I’m really happy to provide help, especially when it is related to PostgreSQL, you must be able to clearly state what the problem is and how I can join the solution.
At least I got the person to send me an *“accurate” email with her needs:
As you can see, the list is very wide and covers pretty much everything PostgreSQL can do nowdays. Of course, while I have very extensive documentation on the subjects, I’m not going to share them to somebody with a request like that. Going deeper and exchanging a couple of emails, I discovered that the person was in charge of organizing a seminar the very next week about PostgreSQL, and since she did not know the database nor she has any documentation (slides and alike), she asked me in the hope I would provide something.
[...] please share if you have anything below topics, Installation Backup Replication, Performance tuning, Extensions, Tools and failover Migration
I kindly replied with a good luck kind of statement, explaining that when I prepare PostgreSQL training events I spend some weeks in reviewing all my documentation and examples.
Mistake #5: no one is there to do your homework!
Being on an open source project or having an open source attitude does not mean share everything with me so I will do a god job and take credits, and really, this has nothing to do with the credits part.
You need to respect other people’s time and efforts, and that is the very fundamental part in being a professional: act as a professional if you need help from another professional.