Greetings from San Francisco! I am here this week to attend both the BSidesSF and RSA conferences. If you have been following my blog, you know that I decided to make a tech-centric information security pivot in my career. I didn’t make this career change because I already know everything about tech or security. I did it because I want to learn more. I am learning a lot while I’m here. It’s overwhelming at times, for sure, but exhilarating.
You want to know the key to me having the time of my life here, versus being in the fetal position in a corner because I don’t understand what’s going on? Asking questions.
You know the expression, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question?” I think that needs to be refined. We need something more positive like, “It’s ok to ask questions, it’s how you learn!” Or, “People want to help you, let them know by asking questions!”
I give the information security community lots of credit for being so receptive to my questions and helping me. This might not be true for all industries, but it should be. From friends that I have known for a long time who are skilled in this field, to strangers on Twitter whose real names I don’t even know, I feel comfortable asking them questions in order to learn.
Lose your inhibitions to asking questions.
I like to say that what I currently lack in tech and security knowledge, I make up for with enthusiasm and interest and an honest attempt at learning — and I embrace it. I feel like Alice in Cybersecurity Wonderland. I am confident and uninhibited when I ask questions like: Who are you? What’s that? How does this work? Should I drink this?
I know what you are thinking. What if you meet up with a Queen of Hearts who shouts, “Off with their heads!” when you ask a question? Smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat and say, “I’m just asking a question.” Then, walk away because you’re late for tea.
Live in wonderment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The people answering your questions could be the ones to open doors, or rabbit holes, to you and whatever fulfillment you are seeking.