As I approach my last few days as a cyber professional, I find myself thinking about a set of criteria for jobs that I developed years ago and that I’ve applied pretty consistently throughout my career. I’m wondering if these criteria still apply in a professional world where visibility and networking seem to be the only things that matter. I’m reflecting on whether or not my decision to retire from tech aligns with my criteria.
The criteria (1 point scored for each) are:
- Will this job help me to acquire skills that I could not otherwise obtain?
- Will this job enhance my prestige and/or visibility within my discipline?
- Will this job contribute, measurably, to my happiness or well-being?
With only one exception, I never took a job that scored less than 2, and no job I held, that dropped to 1 or 0, retained me for more than a year beyond that inflection point. But here’s where it gets interesting… My employer, MITRE, was once described by a trusted colleague as a place where one, “…can walk across the complex and get another job if you don’t like the one you’re doing.” And this is really true. The possibilities are endless. So why am I leaving MITRE and cyber? Why now?
I think it has more to do with me and less to do with the criteria–no big surprise there. Yes, criterion (1) is still valid, but the skills available to me are not the skills I want any longer. I find I no longer care about prestige and visibility (criterion 2), but I’m hopeful that this transition will bring about outsized measures of happiness (criterion 3). So I guess the criteria still apply, after a fashion, but now I seem to be down to two. Is this just age? Exhaustion? Rebellion? The pandemic? ;- )