One offer, two promises… and a goodbye.

New and novice speakers – need help with your PASS Summit community event recordings? Get in touch and I can help. I think that the idea of community is getting lost somewhere. Certainly, if you take a look at some of the discussion on social media, it doesn’t take long to see that the SQL Family / Data Platform discussions online have become very heated. This year has been very hard for me from the community perspective. I see that the temperature has gone up everywhere, and nothing is really changing.

So, I’ve been moving into other communities: I am on a few online private Executive meetups and I am fortunate to meet amazing leaders and I learn a lot from them. I am also volunteering more for organisations where I can contribute my data science skills for charity, and it is good to work with real data scientists who are nice people as well as being expert in what they do. I am also participating in a Diversity and Inclusion think tank for the fintech industry.

That said, I feel sorry for the people who have not had the chances to grow as I have done, and I believe that I am in a position to help. If you can help, then I think that you should. From my first SQLBits session in 2010, I have spent the last decade speaking all over the world. I have participated in keynotes with 6K people in-person and 15K people online. I have spoken in four continents for the last decade. The SQL Community was a good place to start at the time, and I met a lot of people and made a ton of friends. That slowly changed and things got increasingly cruel. I saw people being pushed out, and I saw behaviour that I was increasingly uncomfortable with. I realized it was getting further and further away from my personal ethics. Then, for the last two years or so, I made an increasing number of complaints about all sorts of things, reputational damage, passive-aggressive bullying and then outright harassment so I had to leave. I have seen things descend over the past ten years and I see no way out of it, really.

So this post forms a ‘goodbye’ to the Data Platform / SQL Family for me. I have had enough. You’ve won, and I hope you are happy. I know that some of the victim-blaming comments focus on how glad some people are that I’ve left the community so they can contribute more, and coming up with all sorts of reasons for turning the blame back on me. But know this: I do not want to be part of a community where there are people like that involved. I don’t want to be an MVP or a Regional Director again; I would like to think I’m better than that, judging by some of the behaviour from Data Platform community members that I have experienced over the past while. So I’m not going to be some ‘life long MVP’ at all; I am going to be better than that.

I am going to do two things:

Promise 1: I have offered to help new / upcoming speakers by recording their PASS Summit Recordings for them. If you would like to help, or you need help, please fill out this form here. I promise that I will not sell your data, sign you up for some service without you realizing it, or anything silly like that. I will try to match you with a mentor or newbie speaker in your time zone (if there is a lot of demand) but I intend to record sessions myself, too. I cannot do SQLBits and DPS as well; I need to sign off from the SQL Community and I need to timebox it. I need time to heal so this seems like a good closure for me.

Promise 2: I don’t think that anything much has changed, so I am going to contact the head of Diversity at Microsoft and give everything to him. I don’t think he will do anything, but I think that the only way to make anything better is to take it out of the community remit and make it someone elses’s problem. I am committing to do it in public because doing anything in private just doesn’t work. I didn’t do anything after I left because I wanted to see what would happen, but unfortunately, nothing has happened and there has been enough time now for changes to be made. I also need to unload this burden; I have carried it alone for too long, and it is time to pass it on to someone who will learn from it (I hope). I am expecting soothing words and no action, but at least I will have done all I can to try and change things. I can say goodbye to the pain then, and move on. I have been going through my emails in a colder light now, and after the passing of time, I cannot believe I let myself go through that and I will not be doing it again. I hope that things will change for other people.

I need and want to draw a line under all this, and move into other areas where I can make a good difference, and leave behind a situation which I cannot change.

4 thoughts on “One offer, two promises… and a goodbye.

  1. what a sexist, racist view of the world, thinking that “diversity” is literally skin-deep, based on appearance (i.e. gender, skin colour…). the world will become a better place when you people will realize that you’re the biggest bigots in the world, trying to force your narrow-minded world view on everyone and everything (remind you of any specific group of people in the past?)

  2. Hi Jen, I don’t know you, but I have had the same complaints about members (and leadership) of PASS for almost 10 years. I have tried to speak up and be heard, but I am greeted with deafening silence. I understand that this world has many different cultures, with different ‘norms’. But respect for peers, regardless of race, gender or any other perceived difference, is sorely lacking across the membership, and the leaders of PASS seem to conveniently ignore it all. Good luck to you, in your next endeavors.

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