I talk a lot about “giving back”. It’s a personal issue with me – I grew up quite poor, and from time to time someone would take notice that my mom and I didn’t have enough to eat, and they would help us out. I’ve never forgotten those folks.
So whenever I can, I try to help others out as well. And I’ve found that the folks that work with SQL Server have that same spirit. My good friend Arnie Rowland down in Oregon has started an amazing project. Backed by several other SQL Server professionals, he’s put together “Project Phoenix” – where he invites unemployed or underemployed developers to propose a software project for a non-profit agency, school, or church. He and his group will give you a package of the latest software, tools, and training resources to help you improve your skills, get up to date with current technologies, gain practical experience, and potentially earn a recommendation for your efforts that could lead to full-time work.
If you’re able to help out like this, then do it! If you’re not the “organizing” type, join in with folks like Andy to see what you can do. When we help each other we all get better.