I had a college professor, Dr David Bernstein, once talk about recommendations and referrals. The line he said has stuck with me for near 20 years since I heard it:
“Don’t give a reference for someone if you can’t, by all good faith, make them sound like they walk on water.” – Dr David Bernstein
Over the past 20 years of my career, I’ve had dozens, if not hundreds of people ask me for a recommendation. Whether they’re going for a new job, a security clearance or some sort of promotion, it’s the first thing they need to iron out. They need solid references so there is more trust built around their case.
This seems to make a lot of sense, but, it’s really hard to tell someone no. You can wuss out and say “oh, my company policy won’t allow me to provide a referral”. Ok, that really may be the case, but, your integrity is important. Sometimes, we need to tell people the truth in order to help them grow.
If you have to say no, let them know why. No need to be mean, but be constructive. If they push you for “why” you can’t give a recommendation, talk to them about specific incidents or habits that they could improve upon.
If they have done something in the past to break your trust, and they still ask you, then you can laugh at them. That’s a no go. Protect your integrity at all costs.
Ever find an eye-opening new source of information? Not technical information, like javadocs (are they still a thing?), but personal growth information.
in the old days, we had technical sources like slashdot, freshmeat, digg etc.. but, times have gone on, and now we have other places we can read regularly to keep up… here are some links and reasons why I love them:
https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/ – Lots of technical stuff. New, updated code, procedures, standards, etc.
www.reddit.com/r/startups – I have a great deal of passion around new companies and people getting up, killing it and dragging it home.
https://techcrunch.com/ – Tech Crunch is great for big industry news, and a nice place to find information on up and comers
https://news.ycombinator.com/ – Hacker News – Great place for anything tech related, up and coming
Civics 101 – Not tech, but, crazy informative and a must listen for any US citizen and anyone who wants to learn how the US works.
Science Friday – Cause, Science
Source Code Podcast – This is new for me, and fantastic:
What am I missing out on?!
Over the next few months, I plan on doing a big podcast binge on cybersecurity careers and will continue my focus on technology.
This week’s episode, John Lockie and I talk about his background and how it’s not the traditional path into cybersecurity if there really is one. He affirms my beliefs in regards to CISOs with music degrees. You’ll never guess what he says!
Find John on Twitter: @thedefensedude
Please find and subscribe to the “De-Coder’s Ring” in iTunes, and I’d be ecstatic if you gave me a great rating.
Leave feedback below about this episode!
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How often do you have a backup plan for when something goes wrong?
The group I’m working with went downtown Richmond today and had a blast on the Segway Tour. Segways are like motorized mountain bikes/scooters and therefore, are a ton of fun.
When getting ‘trained’ for Segway operation, the guide taught us about what to do if the Segway just acted stupidly, beeped incessantly, vibrated without stopping, fell over, etc. It made me start to wonder about logistics.
It was the second time that day the thought of drastically changing plans came to mind…. ok, maybe the 3rd now that I think about it more.
I try not to make a habit of thinking about the ‘what if’ or the potential negatives of a situation, but, it is always good to have a backup plan if something goes wrong.
Don’t tell my wife about this post, because at home, I’m the WORST at making decisions. I don’t care what we have for dinner, I appreciate being fed. I don’t care what show we’re watching (as long as I’m caught up on GoT). I just like relaxing sometimes.
My attitude towards decision making has reached an age of enlightenment. A big “ah-ha” moment. I figured it out!
At work, no one likes to make a decision. For years (ok, like 15?) I’d ALWAYS defer a decision to the ‘senior’ person in the room. Especially if they were in my reporting chain. My boss is in the room? I defer to her. Her boss? Yep, I defer there.
It took me a REALLY long time to realize that the simple task of making a decision was a skill that 90% of people didn’t have, or wouldn’t take advantage of.
It reminds me of Aaron Burr. At least how Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays him in Hamilton. Dude wouldn’t pick a side. He waited for others to make a decision. “You keep out of trouble and you double your choices.” In other words, if I don’t pick a side, I won’t be wrong when the dust settles. What an awful way to live!
Once that clicked, I’ll make a decision all day long. If I’m wrong, oh well, I made a decision, and worked through it. If I made a decision, it’s because no one else would. Which means they didn’t have their own answer, or the guts to try something unknown.
This goes right into my post about Learning by Failure.
…. wonder what subconsciously is pushing me to talk about failure and decisions this week?