After spending an exhausing week at PASS Summit in Seattle, I have to point out that if you are a DBA and are not attending, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Whether you think your company just won’t pay for it, whether you think to yourself that it’s just too expensive; whatever the reason, you should be putting in the time and effort to figure out a way to attend.

If there is any chance at all that your company might spring for it, you should spend half a day reviewing the PASS website, looking through blog posts, etc. to gather enough information to persuade your boss that it is in your companies best interest to send you…and I’ll tell you why soon.  If you can’t get your company to pay for it, look at the options and do it on the cheap.  There are always ways that you can minimize the expenses of the trip.  One year I wrote an essay for Idera about how their products have changed the way I work, and they paid for my registration fees!  So look/ask around and see if any of your vendors are offering any help with the conference.  And you don’t have to stay in the conference approved hotels…go stay in something cheap, you are there to learn not to stay in luxury.

Now, why is it so important?

Imagine a place where you can go sit in up to nine hours of educational sessions for five days straight and not just learn one subject but potentially twenty or thirty subjects!  It can seem a bit overwhelming when you first start looking at the session schedule, but you just pick the session that most interests you in each hour+ block.  And if you spring for the recordable sessions add-on, you can then go back and watch all the sessions that you were in, but more importantly the ones that were in competition for your time! You can’t beat that!

Now, outside the sessions, there are sooo many other reasons to go.  Imagine again, a conference with several thousand people just like you who want to network and talk to you about what you do and what they do.  Some of the absolute best advice I’ve gotten has been while sitting at a communal table at the daily provided lunch…and sometime I even get to give the advice and feel good about helping others!  There are also a ton of sponsored after events to attend if you so choose:  everything from board game nights, to karaoke with industry MVP’s, to happy hours with vendors…all to relax for a bit each night.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly for some, there is the FREE Microsoft Data Clinic.  If you have some crazy situation happening at work and you have Google’d your brains out, and you don’t have SA or Premiere support with Microsoft, the registration fees could be worth it just to talk to the Data Clinic people alone!  You basically take a number and when it’s your turn, the program teams, the CAT teams, whoever needs to be involved are right there to help guide and look at your problem with you.  These are the guys, in some cases, that wrote the program!!  You simply can’t get better than that!

So to summarize, there are a hundred reasons to go to PASS Summit every year, you just have to find the ones that matter to you and your environment and really put in the work to make it happen!