14 May 2020
Unfortunately, my father passed away in 2008 when he was just 47. Cancer is a bitch, folks. My dad was a roofer, and he loved his job. So much so that he was cremated in his work boots and jeans!
Before he passed away, he instilled one thing in me that has served me well throughout my career so far. He used to say:
Do something you love for a living and you will never work a day in your life.
I never really understood what that meant as a kid - to me, a job was a means to make money and money meant I could buy stuff, usually electronics and tech.
Boy was I wrong.
After rattling around in shitty dead-end jobs for a few years after college, I decided to do something with my life and I joined the Army. This is where I began to understand what my dad was talking about.
I loved my time in the Army. I got to see the world and I met some amazing people along the way. But tours of Iraq and Afghanistan took their toll, so I moved on after 5 years’ service.
The military was my first exposure to InfoSec. I’ve always been interested in technology and geekery of all kinds, but there was something about InfoSec that took it to another level.
I’ve now been in InfoSec for over a decade and I still love my job. I work for a global bank, where I run the Cyber Incident Response function across Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA).
It could be a new piece of malware, an insider threat, system vulnerability, or 100 other things - it’s so interesting. Every single day is a different challenge.
Now I’m older and (hopefully) wiser, I understand exactly what my dad meant. He loved his job. The challenge of making a roof look perfect - especially if it was a difficult roof with lots of leadwork, like a Church - was utopia for him.
I’m glad to say that I’m in the same situation; I’m so lucky to be able to earn my living doing something I love.
Of course, there are good and bad days, that’s the same with every job. But I honestly cannot remember the last time I woke up in the morning and didn’t look forward to heading in to work.
Doing what I love means I’m interested in what I do, so it’s easy to go the extra mile. This in turn pays dividends in my career and allows me to progress.
It’s not just the industry I work in that has this effect on me though, it’s the people too. Many of my colleagues are world-class InfoSec professionals; the impostor syndrome is real when you work with these folks!
I do what I love, and most days do not feel like work. Thanks, dad.
If you’re working in a job you’re not happy with, move on. Even if you have to take a step back in your career, it’s so worth it in the long run.
I know that’s easier said than done, I get it. We all have bills to pay and taking a pay cut may not be possible for some. But if you have the opportunity to do it, DO IT.
You never know when your number is up - my dad didn’t think that his would be up at 47, that’s for sure - so live each day like it’s your last. I’d hate to look back in 20 years and think what if?
I don’t really know why I decided to write this post. I was thinking about my dad, and his saying just popped into my head. So there it is anyway, my work ethic. Take from that what you will.
Miss you, dad.