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Don Burleson Blog 







How to save your job from an Oracle layoff

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonAugust 29,  2015

How to avoid an Oracle layoff

In this down economy, companies are forced to make tough decisions. Layoffs have become commonplace, even among Oracle professionals. When a corporation is forced to trim their Oracle professional workforce, they commonly hire outside risk assessment advisors to determine which people are to be laid off.

I have participated in this unsavory process on many occasions, where I am charged with determining which Oracle employees will retain their jobs and which will be terminated. This process generally starts with an unobtrusive analysis of the Oracle professionals and includes the obvious criteria like measuring the quality and quantity of their work product; however, we also look at habits, e-mail habits and web surfing histories.

The goal is to identify those professionals who are indispensible to the ongoing success of the database and separate out those who contribute less to the bottom line. This is especially challenging when evaluating Oracle DBAs because one of the hallmarks of a good DBA is a database that rarely experienced an unplanned outage. Hence, the best DBAs are often those who have automated their tasks and use carefully crafted jobs to monitor and tune their workloads.

Hence, the best DBAs are often those who have automated their jobs and use carefully crafted jobs to monitor and tune their workloads.  For more details on how a good DBA automated the well structured DBA tasks, see Jon Emmons' book "Oracle Shell Scripting".

A good DBA often acts like George Jetson, the famous cartoon character of the 1960's.  George would walk into his office each morning, mash a single button, and kick back in his chair and relax, all because he was able to automate much of the well structured tasks in his job.  Hence, a good DBA may seem to be less busy than a mediocre DBA, who must perform well structured tasks over and over because they lack the necessary skills to automate their job functions.

Evaluating experience and credentials is often a key indicator of a professional's dedication to Oracle as a profession and their value to a company:

  •  Continuing Education - An Oracle professional who has undertaken to graduate from a competitive university (e.g. Ivy League) is a definite plus.  Continuing education is also a plus, such as enrolling in an evening graduate school program.

  •  Pursuing Credentials - Oracle professionals who challenge themselves by gaining Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), or Oracle Certified Masters credentials is a key indicator of their dedication and value.

  • High Quality Past work experience - While high attrition is common among Oracle professionals (the average Oracle DBA stays at a company less than six years), a history of job-hopping counts against you.  Oracle professionals who spend less than two years at a job may indicate those who received a poor annual performance review.  Plus, people with a history of short employment are people who are likely to leave anyway.

Evaluating Oracle professionals as layoff candidates

So, how to we separate the wheat from the chaff?  There are several things that an Oracle professional can do to keep themselves from becoming a target of a layoff.

Using unobtrusive measures like monitoring e-mails and web surfing activity, layoff and risk assessment consultants look for specific behaviors that might indicate Oracle professionals who are lacking in skills:

  • Time spent in Forums - They tend to spend time surfing Oracle forums, asking questions.  A professional who spends time answering forum questions may also be "killing time" because they are unable to perform their daily duties.

  •  High SR activity - One sure sign of a weak Oracle professional is one who open lots of unnecessary service requests on MOSC.  They are easily spotted because they ask na├»ve questions to Oracle technical support about things that they should already know.

  •  Non-business activity at work - Oracle professionals who waste time surfing non-Oracle web sites indicate a lack of commitment to the company.

Because most Oracle professionals are salaried, they can be terminated for any reason, or no reason at all, but there are some very specific steps that must be followed to justify laying off an Oracle professional. 

To see how a manager evaluated Information Technology workers for layoffs, see the book "You're Fired:  The IT managers guide to terminating computer professionals"



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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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