Trailers, Axles and The Power of a SQL Saturday Shirt!

I know what you are saying, what does a trailer’s axle have anything to do with a SQL Saturday shirt? To be honest with you, absolutely nothing. But wearing a SQL Saturday shirt in public, well that is a completely different story and an interesting one at that! Let me tell you about it…

This last week, I was driving home from Folsom Lake and noticed that my boat trailer seemed to be smoking from the port side. I was about a mile from home, so I waited until I got home to check it out, only to find that one of my axles had completely blown a seal, destroying the hub and wheel bearings.  I was kind of at a loss on what to do. I am not afraid to admit that I am not a mechanic. I could probably figure it out, but working on cars is a skill set that I do not have. The condition of the trailer was not going to allow me to drive it anywhere, unless I wanted to cause more damage to the axle or even the wheel. It is a good thing that my neighbor, a full-time firefighter and part-time mechanic, happened to be on his 2 day leave. So after getting the wheel and hub off with his help, I was off to the auto parts store to try to gather all the replacement parts…this is where the story really begins.

I had a really knowledgeable gentleman helping me with locating all the parts, grease, cleaners and even giving me some explanations on how put it all back together. Based on some of the answers to his questions, I think he came to the realization that auto repairs are not my strong suit. As he was getting ready to ring me up for all the parts, he made a comment that surprised me.

“What kind of work do you do, are you an IT guy?”

My first thought was ‘Great, this guy is going to start making fun of me and IT people and not being *manly* enough to know anything about car repairs’.

I quickly gather my thoughts and responded with a quick “Yes”.

Without realizing it, he quickly pointed at the shirt I was wearing. I had completely forgotten that I was wearing my SQL Saturday #144 shirt. I never wear that shirt and when I do, it is for usually for working around the house. What happened next blew me away and lead to another half hour conversation.

It turns out this guy graduated from a well know college (think Michael Jordan) with a MIS degree and worked for years in IT in many different environments. He moved out to the left coast several years ago and for whatever reason couldn’t find a good job around here. Our conversation led to exchanging of information and an invitation to our SQL User group meetings here in town. We have since been in contact and I have passed his resume off to several different companies in hopes that he can find something fitting for his skills.

So why is any of this important? Well, just like any good story, there is a moral to it. You never know who you might run into and how a conversation can be started around a shirt you are wearing. Don’t be afraid to wear your geek gear. Maybe you are not good at starting conversations, but wearing a SQL shirt might allow someone else to start the conversation for you. You are not only meeting new people but you are also building out your network and consequently your brand as well… Think about it.

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