Lucky Break - Security Boulevard

Lucky Break

One of the things I do from time to time is throw out an open ended question on Twitter.  Sometimes I’m making a point, sometimes I just want to amuse myself, but mostly I’m honestly curious about what other people think. The answers almost always surprise me.

Yesterday afternoon, I asked a pair of related questions:

What piece of luck had the biggest effect on your career?

What did you have to do to be prepared to take advantage of that piece of luck?

Here’s a list of the responses I’ve received so far.  If you’re on the list and want to have your response removed, just let me know.  I figure if you said it on Twitter, you already think of your comment as public, but I’ve been wrong before.

I know and have met less than half the people who responded.  It’s always interesting to get a little insight into the backstory of your peers and the people around you.


Getting hired as a part time contract worker doing recruiting work for a security company. It was enough to get my foot in the door. I leveraged my previous customer support experience to get full time work, and went from there. I had to be prepared to learn everything.

This is a bit of the sadness and reality of the human condition. When I was a junior sports reporter on the Bruins beat in Boston, the senior reporter got pancreatic cancer at the beginning of the season. Thus, I was thrown into the job as the full time beat reporter …

It was an opportunity presented through the saddest of circumstances (he passed away less than a year later). But I had no choice but to take advantage the situation by learning to become a fully fledged and competent sports reporter. Study day and night. Work on craft etc.

getting fired from my first job turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to my career. – Martin: I have had a similar experience

Finding a theater that would take an inexperienced teenager as a volunteer. Gave me a foothold to build a resume that got me into MIT. It took a lot of calls to find that role, but once I did, I did everything I could, never assuming I couldn’t because of age or gender.

I worked retail back when you had to enter everything in by hand at register and my 10-key speed was wicked fast. I switched to lowly data entry job and was so quick I had extra time on hands. I volunteered for anything/everything computer related.

Someone I knew from playing video games online was a director at a hot dot com and got me a job there. All I had to know was how email works. The rest is history.

I boarded an airplane late (last one on). My seat had been taken by a mother/daughter pair, I didn’t make them move back. I sat in the middle seat, next to the director of consulting at my next job. My passion for IT and my hobby projects likely left a good enough impression

Moving from the Midwest to Boston and getting a lucky break with my first job at Carbonite

I once went above and beyond for a field office, in spite of the fact that I knew before they did that the field office was going to be shut down. The IT manager at the field office then offered me a sweet job at Apple when he became a manager there. It pays to be helpful.

Rescheduling my flight from Boston to LA off of September 11. – Martin:  This is one of the few responses I consider to be ‘pure luck’.  There’s a lot of backstory to this short tweet. 

Helping out in a booth at a PCI Community Meeting and saying Yes/No/Please, I Changed My Mind Can I Still Take The Job?

Luck: Out-processing my last day in the , and headed to retire with a pension and nothing lined up (not for a lack of trying). Bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. Chatted, she asked for a resume. Her boss offered me a stellar job/salary on the phone that night.

Prep: During my service, I worked on multiple things to get ready. AAS and BS in Business, BS and MS in Infosec, 15 security certs, and years of pen testing/hacking exp. I wanted to be *ready*. Now that I’m settled in the perfect dream job, I’m chasing my DSc in Cyber 🙂

A near relative needed extra hands in his small company, and over time I became an important part of the dev team. My prior IT experience was just gaming and using the internet for years. The most important thing was being technically literate and good at googling problems.

A casual conversation with a fellow student on the first night of my 3 year part time Masters degree.

Someone in a position of authority at the place I’ve wanted to work my whole life (but had never done anything about it) stumbled across a blog post I’d written about a problem he was having that very day. This led to the series of events that got me my job there. – Martin:  An early career interview with Nick was one of the things that got me thinking I could be more than just a system admin, though I didn’t take the job at the time.

Not sure if it was “luck” but at the consultancy that I worked at, the whole security team (three people) quit on one day and I was the only one with both networking and Unix experience. So I quickly became the “security expert”

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Writing and Ramblings authored by [email protected] (Martin McKeay). Read the original post at: