Okay, I'm super late with this! Big things are afoot in my life at the mo and fitting things in is proving... awkward.
One thing I did find time for, and was extremely glad I did, was volunteering as a helper at the largest SQL Server conference in Europe, SQLBits!
Having only attended SQLBits one year previously (in 2017) I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the conference, let alone as a helper. You see, SQLBits moves around, changing venue every year. This brings a whole raft of challenges for the team but also helps people from different areas attend (and lets them see a whole swathe of different pubs).
So this year (2018) we were in the 'ol capital itself, at the London Olympia. Never been there before, no idea of the venue, only a vague idea of who the other helpers are...
Why am I doing this?
I ain't gonna lie, making the case to attend the conference for the cost of nothing (barring travel & accommodation) was a lot easier and was part of the decision making process, but it don't end there.
When you're an SQLBits helper you get more from the conference. You just do! You'll meet more people, make more friends, attend more social events, feel like you're giving something back, be a bigger part of the awesome SQL Server community. I mean where else can you:
- Grab a cup of coffee with Pinal Dave (who is A CHARACTER)
- Pester people for feedback forms
- Be a cookie waiter for Brent Ozar and Erik Darling
- Hand out lunches
- Grab a selfie with Ola Hallengren
- Get offered a job!
- Attend a quiz with the founders of SQLBits (who were rubbish on the history of SQLBits section of the quiz)
- Chat with all kinds of people using SQL Server in all kinds of ways
- Help your favourite speakers deliver great presentations
- Attend every session you wanted to anyway!
- Get a bunch of sweet orange shirts
I may be biased, but being an SQLBits helper makes you a better person. Like contributing to open source projects, being a helper lets you give something back to a community that's always super helpful, kind, and interesting. You'll make friends that pop up at other SQL Server events, or that you just meet once a year at SQLBits. If you're thinking about speaking, being a helper lets you see behind the scenes and makes the whole process of being a speaker seem 99% less intimidating, plus there are loads of speakers to mine for tips!
So, in summation:
VOLUNTEER FOR SQLBITS RIGHT DANG NOW by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
As a side note, many thanks to Rob Sewell for twisting my arm and getting me to sign up as a volunteer in the first place!