Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

SSSE Domain 7 - Time, Life & Career Management

While most of what makes a super-star security engineer is their ability to deliver value to their employer (i.e. technical and business skills), this domain is actually the most important and most underrated. The reason I spend so much time on this blog talking about these skills is because the ability to create a fulfilled and happy life is really the basis of providing value.

We have all worked in an environment at some point in our careers where morale was low, people weren't trying, and nobody was really feeling challenged or growing significantly. Let me ask: how much value was being created in that environment? Were people really being super-stars?

One of the key traits I have seen in all of the really great engineers and managers I have known is the ability to manage their time, manage their lives, and manage their careers. So, in this domain, it's an absolute requirement that you learn those skills.

Required Texts

Getting Things Done: David Allen's book is the seminal text on creating a productive life. It has sprung an incredible following within the technology community and the blogosphere, because it really does map to the way that most of us in technology live.

First Things First - This one's the inverse book to the David Allen method. While DA's method is to handle interrupts as they come in, Stephen Covey talks about doing the important stuff first. As I mentioned in the discussion of my system, the combination of knowing what's important and easily prioritizing and handling the interrupts are really the key.

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player - John Maxwell put together a brilliant little book here on how to contribute to a team. While it's not strictly "life management", it really does do a great job of talking about the way to live in a way that allows you to really contribute to the team that you're on and be a super-star member of that team.

Career Warfare - The important skills of building a career involve figuring out how to brand yourself, build relationships within an organization, and develop opportunities for yourself. While the title of this book sounds a bit Machiavellian, it isn't like that at all - it's an excellent manual for understanding how to work within an organization and the relationships there in order to create a successful career.

48 Days to the Work You Love - Dan Miller has long been an inspiration to me when it comes to building a career. Many of the ideas that are going in to the products that I have been working on and the thoughts on this blog originally germinated while reading 48 Days - it's the most brilliant career book out there on the market today.

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray