Career Advice Tuesday – “A Tale of Two Cities”

May 11, 2010

Dear Infosecleaders:

I am hoping for some advice on how to handle my current employment search.  I am an information security professional with a technical background in computer science.  I have done some penetration testing, some technical security assessments, and have a good background in developing and securing web applications.  Currently I have a position where I travel a great deal across the country performing this work.

My situation is as follows.  I currently live in one city and my girlfriend (we are quite serious) lives in another city where she has a solid career that is dependent on her current location (she can not relocate).   I am thinking about changing positions, where I can find work in an organization that will help me develop additional skills that will help me on the path to my career goal, of chief security architect.

Right now I am not sure if I want to move to where she lives considering that I am not aware of  many information security opportunities that will help me take the next step in my career.  Basically, I am trying to figure out how to search for a new position.  I would like to explore opportunities but I do not know where to search, my current city or hers.  I want to be fair to myself and potentially my future employer.

Can you provide me with some guidance on how to handle my job search?


Charles Dickens

Dear Chuck:

At some point in many people’s career they have to make choices between their personal life and their professional life.  Without knowing your currnet situation in depth (we provide career advice not relationship counseling) it is difficult to offer advice without potentially damaging your personal relationship with your girlfriend.

What I will tell you is that before you embark on a search for a new position, you need to figure out where you want to live.  I think that if you begin to search for a position and then you decide that you do not want to live there, you can lose a great deal of credibility with the companies that you are pursuing.  This indecision will definitely come out in the interview process, and it may effect how these companies view your candidacy and will most likely reflect poorly on your ability to prioritize your career.  Plain and simple, you do not want to give the impression to potential employers that you are on a “fishing expedition” and lack the commitment necessary to pursue your next career opportunity.

I think that the best advice is to come to a conclusion on where you want to live and then focus your job search on that geography.  If you delay your job search, the worst thing that can happen would be is that you would gain additional experience and become a more proficient information security professional within the framework that your current job provides.  In the big picture, this is not that big of deal.

This extra time may also provide you with the necessary time to figure out the level of your relationship with your girlfriend and if your current relationship is worth the short term career sacrifice.

Speaking from our own personal experience, we can tell you that finding the right life partner is much more important that finding the right “next job”.  I can say with great confidence that there are many more good jobs, then there are great life partners!

Good luck in the pursuit of both of your passions!

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday 


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