My family is approaching a major life crossroad: My stepson will graduate from high school next year and heading off to college.  We have all decided a change of scenery would be great for all of us. Our current home doesn’t offer much for his future, and there isn’t much hope of that changing. We’ve decided to move partially to support his education and reduce the likelihood he will start his adult life buried in the same financial debt many of his peers will face.

My wife and I are also looking forward to the opportunities this change can offer all of us, both personally and professionally.  We both languish in our current careers and feel trapped due to the limited opportunities in the area.  Our master’s degrees in our chosen fields should offer hope, but the failing local economy simply does not offer what either of us is looking for.  This has been our home since birth, but we sadly cannot see a positive future for our family here.

After 20 years working for the same company, the time has come to put some real thought behind the next steps in my career. I’ve been all over the map recently, but one theme runs throughout all of it - I want to focus on security. My experience in IT and the energy industry has shown me there are nearly infinite opportunities available. I could pentest, consult, audit, or anything else I can find a position for. How can I find something that suits my experience, desires, and financial requirements?

My current thinking is two-fold: First to commit to moving up the management track. I have a great deal to offer this role: mentorship, leadership, experience. And if anything, I’ve gained a great deal of insight into what not to do.  I’ve witnessed first hand how great leadership can take an organization to new heights, and conversely how failure to keep an eye on the basics can crush an organization from the inside.  I’m actively pursuing projects and training in my current role that further this goal.  My plan is to take not only what I know now, but a good base of ‘boring’ skills which are integral to good management: project management, finance, and communication.  I may need to step my way into the track in a lower role, but I can shoot for the moon until then.

Second is to commit to a real side hustle which will allow me to make some extra cash to finance my desire to learn other aspects of security. My initial plan is to start some limited vulnerability assessment work, using that to finance learning other aspects of the field such as penetration testing, etc. This blog is part of that effort - I don’t expect to earn any kind of meaningful revenue from it, but I hope to showcase some of my learning and work. I’ve also toyed with the idea of teaching over the years.  The quickest way to learn anything is to teach someone else to do it.

Now comes the scary part - putting this all into action. One step at a time.