Today is my last day at Trivadis. I worked for this company more than 23 years, and most of the time, I loved my job. To conclude my time as a consultant and trainer, here are three funny stories that happened to me over the years.
Technical Interview with a Condition
Before I started at Trivadis in 1999, I had interviews with various people at Trivadis. The technical interview I had with Urs Meier, one of the founders of Trivadis. He talked to me about all kinds of topics related to Oracle and other technologies. When he asked about my experience with performance tuning, I was proud to explain how I can display an execution plan in SQL*Plus – that wasn’t as easy with Oracle 8 as it is today. But then he asked some more questions, and we had this conversation:
- Urs: “How do you recognize a bad execution plan?”
- Dani: “If the plan contains a full table scan, it is a bad execution plan.”
- Urs: “Really? Why that?”
- Dani: “Because full table scans are bad. They take too much time.”
Of course, Urs was not very pleased about my stupid answer. But then he promised that I will be hired anyway, under one condition: In the first few months at Trivadis, I must attend the training “Oracle SQL Optimizer and Performance Workshop” (he was the instructor of the course at that time). There I will learn why a full table scan is not always a bad choice.
Two years later, I was one of the co-instructors of this training, and since then, I gave the “Optimizer Workshop” more than 100 times. In the meantime I know that full table scans can be a very good choice for some queries.
Private Taxi Driver
Once I had the opportunity to give a three-day training at an industrial company. The head quarter of this company is located in a small town in Germany. As a Swiss, I’m used to travel by train. Unfortunately, the town – let’s call it V. – is located quite remotely in the countryside. There is indeed a train station in V., but the journey was quite long. When I finally arrived on Sunday evening at around 11pm, I looked around for a taxi on the station square. Neither people nor cars were to be seen, I could not even find a sign with the phone number of a cab company. The hotel was too far away from the train station to walk. So, I called the hotel and asked them for a taxi. The lady in the hotel was shocked when I told her that I came by train. She didn’t even know that there are trains stopping in V. on a Sunday evening. But she knew the local taxi driver and called him. After about half an hour, he arrived on the station square and drove me to the little hotel outside the village.
The cab that took me to the customer’s office the next morning had the same driver again. Probably he was the only taxi driver in V.? He told me that he rarely had business people as clients. His usual passengers are elderly people whom he regularly drives to the hospital in the neighboring community. There is not much going on in the small town. He asked how long I would be staying in V. and offered me a flat rate for the next three days. He said I could call him anytime I wanted to go somewhere.
This is how I got a private driver during the three days of my stay. He drove me back and forth between hotel, customer office, city center, bakery and grocery store. Once I asked him if he never gets bored in such a small town. He replied: “I have lived here all my life. In V. we have a swimming pool, a cinema and a go-cart track. What else do you need to be happy?”
Lucky guy! I was happy to return home after three days.
Just a Visitor
For consulting jobs, I was also traveling around quite often. Typically, I had to register at the reception desk when I arrived at a new customer site. I can still remember a dialog that once happened at the security desk of a factory:
- Dani: “Hello, I’m Dani Schnider from Trivadis. A have an appointment with XY.”
- Security officer: “Are you here to work or as a visitor?”
- Dani: “What? – To work… of course.”
- Security officer: “Do you have any tools with you?”
- Dani: “What do you mean with tools?”
- Security officer: “Screwdrivers, drills, hammer, pliers…”
- Dani: “Yes, a laptop.”
- Security officer: “Ok, then you are a visitor!”
Until that day, I always thought that I was working for my customers.
In 2019, I published a blog post about my anniversary 20 Years Working for Trivadis. At the end of this quite euphoric post, I wrote the sentence: “From the current point of view, I hope to stay for a few more year at Trivadis” – Well, I had no idea that so much would change after just three years. Next week I will start my new job at Callista, a Swiss IT service provider for consulting and engineering.