Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Guest Blogger: Rachel Carmichael

Something a little bit different today.

Way back when I was a brand new Newbie, I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Carmichael.

Rachel was an Oracle DBA in New York City, co-authored ‘Oracle DBA 101’ and ‘Oracle 9i DBA 101’, was an active participant of the Oracle–L list and regularly attended many of the big conferences and events, including the UKOUG annual conference here in the UK.

Two years ago she embarked on a radical career change and disappeared from the Oracle community. Since then we have remained friends, and I often get people enquiring as to what she’s up to these days.

I decided it would be fun for Rachel to provide an update, in her own words, so here it is….

"So…….. to quote Mark Twain, “the rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated” :-)

Two and a half years ago, I dropped out of the Oracle world. To be precise, I dropped out of IT completely. For a long time, I had been bored by what I was doing. Now I know that’s heresy, to the Oraclites out there it’s impossible to become bored with the minutiae of each new release. But, well, I used to insist I was never really a geek. This just went to prove that.

I’ve always loved animals and I had this idea for a company to do in-home care for geriatric and special needs pets. I decided that if I were a licensed veterinary technician it could only help sell the service, so I went back to school for a two-year degree. Now you have to remember, I’d been out of college for about 30 years at that point, most of my classmates were young enough to be my kids! It’s hard to get back into the routine of studying and taking tests and CARING about test results.

Two years of sciences, anatomy, microbiology, veterinary nursing (surgeries and care), veterinary laboratory procedures (do you KNOW how many parasites there are?), farm animal care (you haven’t truly lived until you’ve had your arm up to the armpit in a cow’s rectum)……

And I did it. Me, the non-science geek, the one who always got sick to her stomach when she saw the surgery shows on television. I’ve become fascinated by this stuff (yes, I’m definitely a medical geek now, I run to see maggots and talk about the size of the cancerous lump that was taken off and…..). I graduated, with high honors (my mother would have expected no less of me).

I went through laboratory animal training, I even worked as a part-time animal caretaker at a research facility – rats and mice and the occasional surgery on a pig. And I geeked over it all.

And now….. I work in the ICU of a specialty referral and emergency hospital in Manhattan, a cancer center in the city. I treat really sick animals. I lose my patients more often than I would like. I put in catheters, take blood… and my conversation much of each workday consists of “Oh goodie, you peed!” and “Oh stop it, just stop it, I’m not even sticking you with anything”.

And I love it. I have no regrets about my decision. I make less than 1/3 of what I made as an Oracle DBA. And I have thousands of times the happiness. There’s this incredible feeling of joy to see an animal I thought was going to die, who I’ve fallen in love with, sweated over, cried over… to see this pet go home healthy.

I’m still around, still have email and answer mail, still think of you all and miss you terribly. But I don’t miss (heresy!) Oracle for one second."

So there you have it.
If anybody wants to get in touch with Rachel, you can either leave a comment here (I know she'll be reading them!) or get in touch with me and I can pass details on.


Anonymous mbobak said...

Hi Rachel,

Mark Bobak here. Just wanted to say hi. We only met briefly at what I believe was the last Hotsos Symposium you attended. Glad to hear you're doing well.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008 4:06:00 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hey Mark -- I do remember you, and the conversations both at Hotsos and on Oracle-l. I know it's almost impossible to believe but I really truly am happy. And I don't care AT ALL about Oracle 11i :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 3:02:00 am  
Blogger bill said...

well, darlin' yu may not claim to be a geek, but you still are "the GODDESS";-) oh well back to the job hunt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 4:24:00 pm  
Blogger Jeremiah Wilton said...

Yay Rachel, you stuck with it, unlike me. I am glad you have found happiness outside of Oracle... if such a thing really exists :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008 6:21:00 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Jeremiah -- I did wonder if you had ever gotten everything started. I always loved school, so the two years felt like a vacation (I mean, I was in school less than 30 hours a week and studying for maybe another 20 so that was way less time than when I was a DBA)

And.... I really was so bored and overwhelmed with all the new releases and the agony of learning that. It just wasn't fun anymore. I will admit that there were days when I'd think "what the heck am I doing, I could be back making money" but those were usually at stress times, not real thoughts.

I'm getting ready to launch my business this spring and, here's the funny thing, I have freelance work writing (wait for it) technical documentation! Business procedures and processes, not programmatic stuff but still. Can't get away from it.

and no, I'm NOT planning on Vet Tech 101!

Thursday, January 17, 2008 12:54:00 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

So glad to hear Rachel's "Life After Oracle" story. What wonderful news about the career change to veterinary science! Congratulations and best wishes always.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 7:57:00 pm  
Blogger Joel Garry said...


One of these days I'll post the color pictures of me at 20 doing brain surgery on rats. I decided I really didn't like it one day when I was preparing a chicken for dinner and started thinking about ontogeny and phylogeny.

Professor: "Did you have to use color film?"
(There was a problem with people liberating lab animals at the time).

Friday, January 18, 2008 10:54:00 pm  
Anonymous lseley said...

{waves} Hi Rachel!

I'm so glad things are working out for you! I think it's great you're loving what you're doing and doing such a great thing as taking care of sick pets. And I'm so glad it's you and not me sticking arms up butts. :-D

{waves} Hi Lisa! Thanks for passing on Rachel's update!


Saturday, January 19, 2008 2:06:00 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Joel, oh lord, I'd HATE to go into research work. I want animals who really know who I am and respond.

And when I was taking anatomy and physiology, well, that cooked chicked became a review lesson :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008 6:27:00 am  
Blogger Chirag said...

Incredible Story

Monday, October 20, 2008 9:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad she found another career. I've lost touch with the community as well. However, it's funny to bump into someone from the past once in a while, even if it is online. I wonder if the l-list and the newsgroups are still up and running.

And to people like Jeremiah (good to see you are doing well by the way), yes there is life beyond Oracle!

Lisa - thanks for posting the update. Excuse me for posting nearly two years late as I came across your blog while Googling something totally different!

Saturday, November 21, 2009 5:36:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home