Career Advice Tuesday – What If I Could Create My Own Job Description
July 28, 2009
Dear Mike and Lee:
If given the opportunity to create your own job and job description within the organization where you work, what would be the first three questions you ask your employer?
Signed, What If?
Before we get started, I would like to congratulate you (“What If”) on being selected as our DefCon Pass winner. We will contact you via e-mail and meet up with you at the conference.
We were asked a number of excellent questions that will be featured on upcoming Career Advice Tuesday’s, unfortunately there could only be one winner. We would like to thank everyone who participated. Please keep the questions coming.
Dear What If?:
In some ways I do believe that we all have the ability to create our own job description and shape our opportunities (and future) within our current employer. I believe that employers, in general, are searching for Information Security professionals who have the ability to go past what is expected of them and go beyond their job descriptions.
Here are the questions I would ask:
Questions #1: What is the most important Information Security problem that is facing our business?
In any position it is always best to be placed in a role that can have an impact on the company’s core business. As a rule, the closer that your job aligns with the primary business, the more visibility and more impact you are able to have. If you can identify the most pressing business problem and have an impact on its solution, you will most likely be given additional opportunities for advancement and career development.
Question #2: Whom will this position interact with and whom will benefit from my work?
Your relationships with your fellow co-workers and superiors will have a great effect on your future within the company. The ability to build key relationships with people who can influence your career is of great importance. A position that can enable you to gain exposure to key leaders outside of the Information Security function will help you develop and create a strong personal brand.
If I could, I would identify two groups of people to interact with – “The Powerful” and “The Diverse”. “The Powerful” because they can make things happen for your career with the greatest of ease. Interacting with “The Diverse” would expose you to more aspects of the business and the company. The better you can positively impact multiple business functions, the more wide ranging your support you will create for yourself. Building consensus is critical to getting things done (especially in larger companies) As you accomplish more, you build more skills. The more skills you develop, the more qualified you will become.
Question #3: Will I be able to change my job description if the situation warrants it?
It is important that your position will provide you with the ability to change with the Information Security needs and the needs of the business. In our industry, if you are not able to remain on top of the current trends and developments, you eventually become irrelevant. Having the flexibility in your job description will allow you to gravitate to new opportunities, while continuing to perform your original job.
It would be nice if we could create and change our job descriptions when we felt necessary. Unfortunately corporate human resources and management generally do not afford employees that flexibility. It is critical that you seek out ways to expand your current responsibilities in a direction that coincides with your career development. If you are able to successfully pull this off, maybe a new job description will be built around your interests. If that is the case, you will be the ideal candidate!
Hope this helps,
Lee and Mike