So it is with deep sadness that I observe the current culture of intensity in the tech industry. My intellectual conclusion is that these companies are both destroying the personal lives of their employees and getting nothing in return. ... I also hear young developers frequently brag about “48 hour” coding sprints. This kind of attitude not only hurts young workers who are willing to “step up” to the expectation, but facilitates ageism and sexism by indirectly discriminating against people who cannot maintain that kind of schedule.Dustin Moskovitz

Are you teacherless? Do you have someone (or more than just one person) that you can truly saddle up alongside and allow to teach you things that you do not know? Or are you too good to submit yourself to someone else’s experience and leadership?John Saddington

John asked those questions in a blog post yesterday.  I wanted to respond directly on his blog but the comments are turned off.  So, I’m responding via blog post.

Am I teacher-less? Yes.  I’ve been teacher-less for a very long time. It’s something I’ve wanted to rectify for a while but I don’t know where to turn for help.  I know few people in my field who are more accomplished or who know me well.

Do I have someone (or more than just one person) that I can truly saddle up alongside and allow to teach me things that I do not know? No.  My field — information security — is not a charitable one.  Yes, there are many networking functions hosted by local chapters of various organizations but most of the attendees are only there to network to find jobs or other opportunity.  The events are all very well organized and their is a lot of exchanging of business cards but very little else.

I did a Google search on the keyword “information security mentor” and found an Information Security Leaders article from August 2010.  Like most articles on mentoring, there is a lot of information about how to manage a mentoring relationship but no information on how to find a mentor.  I can’t go back in time to when I was in high-school or college and start over to find my mentor in a college professor or one of my father’s friends (my Dad’s field is accounting. I don’t think he knows any engineers).

I found (more like rediscovered) a Network World article from 2010 heralding the founding of an InfoSec Mentors volunteer group. I remember back in 2010 signing up to be a mentee.  I don’t remember every receiving any information beyond my initial signup.  Checking on the web site today I see that nothing has changed.

Alt text

Am I too good to submit my to someone else’s experience and leadership? No.  But first I have to find someone else with experience that equals or surpasses mine that is also a leader in the field.  Or maybe this ship has sailed.

Beware. Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The
world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what
you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when
innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot
of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and
loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go
to work.Thomas Friedman