So this has been said in a few different ways, but I figured I’d throw my twist on it. I was thinking today about the fact that you make choices in life. In your career, in your love life, in everything you make sacrifices of what you could do for what you want to do. The best way I could describe it is the differences between Burgers & Steak.
The premise is “hmm…well I could order the burger, or I could pay extra for the steak”. Now extra could be money, it could be time, it could be giving of yourself, whatever it is for that particular situation. In the instance of food, you’re weighing the taste of a steak and the extra money of a steak versus an (usually) inexpensive choice of a burger. While the burger tastes just fine, you want a juicy steak now and then.
In the realm of love, you could try to keep after the “steak” of a high-maintenance person who wants all of your time, money, love, etc., or you could eat a burger and be perfectly content with something that is satisfying and doesn’t bankrupt your wallet, time, emotions.
In work it’s a little different. You could say that you want the “steak” job. You want to be the ultimate (insert job here, CISO, Pen-Tester, Evangelist, Coder, etc.). The thing is, you need to sacrifice for that. You need to reduce other areas of your life to be able to devote that much (time, money, passion, etc.) to that pursuit. This is perfectly fine if you’re willing to move the time/money/passion to this part of your life. Your other areas of life are going to be affected though.
In your career you could chose the path of the “burger” though, and try for a little more balanced approach. You could still get the same “meat”, meaning you could be in that type of a job, but not the best or the “rockstar” (I hate that term). You would be the CISO, or the App Sec person, or whatever you chose, but you wouldn’t be the best at it. What you gain out of this is that the other areas of your life will be enriched by the extra time you spend in those areas. Your relationship will be stronger, you will be better at the guitar, your pet will remember who you are, etc.
The reason I bring this up is this is the week after Thotcon and BsidesChicago. I met a lot of ridiculously smart people the previous weekend. The kind of people that, even after being in IT for 13+ years, you feel like you’re the new guy. You start to get a little discouraged because you want to be that good. You want to be able to come up with things they come up with, or be able to discover new things like they do. The thing is though, that perhaps you may not be as good at coding as the next person because you took that weekend with your significant other to walk the dogs and just lay around. It’s not a bad thing, it’s the choices we make. It’s what you value and how you approach it. The burger is not a bad thing. It’s filling and a lot of times it’s comfort food that we need because it knows just how to pick us back up to make us happy. This is advice for myself even more than anyone else, but:
“Just be yourself. You’re not that person you just talked to, you’re you, and they have had different experiences than you have. Live your life and make the decisions you’re going to make. They make you who you are and why people love you.”