A Smart Performer

Alex asked a question on his blog, "As a Manager who would you prefer - a smart performer or a hard worker?" I am not a manager but my personal preference would be to work with a smart performer. Over the past 10 years i've probably worked with over 100 dbas, so its probably safe to say i've seen a pretty broad range of expertise.

I personally find hard workers who don't produce results, frustrating to work with. At the end of the day, if I consistently have to solve issues then they add no value. I might as well do it all myself. I should add, I expect questions as a senior DBA since thats part of the job. But I expect junior level questions from junior members of the team, not senior. They say there is no such thing as a stupid question and I agree. However, if your a senior resource then you should be able to find the answer to junior questions very quickly yourself.

This debate has cropped up on mailing lists, forums many times over the past year. The general consensus seems to be that managers prefer a hard worker who has social skills vs a smart performer who may be a little socially inept. I've worked with my share of socially inept DBA's and even tho at times they can make you feel like dirt stuck in the crack of their shoe, at least there is an opportunity to learn from them. Usually these DBA's have that attitude for a reason and most times its because of managements inability to 'fix' hard workers who produce no results or consistently repeat past mistakes.

So to answer Alex's question, "Or a fireman who has a smart solution, extinguishes the fire in two hours and saves most of your house. Which one do you choose?" I choose the the fireman who saves my house, even if he curses on me for being a moron while doing so.


Steve Karam said...

I'll take the smart worker any day, though I do prefer the rare "smart worker who is a team player".

To explain the hard worker vs. smart worker perspective... A coworker of mine once brought a rubiks cube to work and showed off how he could solve it in only a few hours. I went online, found a rubiks cube solver, and did it in 3 minutes. Sure, I can solve it manually, but I got it done faster by being more resourceful.. And when the position opens up for a Sr. Production Rubiks Cube Solver, who will get the job? The one who can do it in 3 minutes, by any means.

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