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Career Burnout: Unfortunate Possibility for Cybersecurity Jobs

One of the few benefits of COVID was bringing a high level of attention to mental health. A few months ago, I saw a post referencing how our professional community trades healthy habits for detrimental ones.


No one talks about how aspiring professionals and entry professionals alike sacrifice their health by overindulging in caffeinated beverages to study or focus for long periods.



It's been living rent-free in my head. Probably because I can relate. Personally, I try keeping my caffeine consumption to a minimum of 100-150 mg. Which is equivalent to a cup or a cup and a half. However, at most, I’ve taken 300 mg throughout the day. This included my pre-workout too.


SOC Analyst burnout rate has been high for years. I first heard about it at a SANS Purple Team Summit in 2019. There are studies and evidence supporting this as well.


“The new study, published by security automation platform vendor Tines, polled 468 SOC analysts at organizations with 500 or more employees. Burnout was a major theme of the findings, with 71% of SOC analysts saying they felt burned out on the job. That's become a common theme as the cybersecurity threat landscape has expanded while headcount for security positions has lagged behind job openings.”

While this focuses on SOC analysts, there are other roles with similar rates as well.


The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He defined it as the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one's devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results


When speaking with Wellness Expert, Coach Melody, she gave a few recommendations:

  • Exercising

  • Healthy Diet

  • Meditation

  • Getting Adequate Sleep

  • Yoga

  • journaling


In addition to these great suggestions, I have some suggestions to add.


Sacrifices


I think it’s imperative to know what you’re willing to “sacrifice” to meet your goals, whatever those may be.


Ideally, physical and mental health SHOULDN’T be an option. But, unfortunately, that’s not the life we live in.


As someone who prides himself on his achievements, I tend to believe I make the necessary sacrifices to achieve my objectives. And no, I don’t mean beheading a goat or something wild like that.


I believe in working hard and playing hard. It’s a balance—Shoutout to Thanos.


However, it’s imperative to know your limits. Unfortunately, I found my limit back in November. As an entrepreneur, chapter leader, and full-time employee, it’s an understatement to say I have a lot on my plate. But, hey! Don’t we all?!


Knowing your “why.”

Cybersecurity is a challenging field, and I would be a liar if I said it wasn’t. At those exhausting/difficult times, remembering why you’re in this profession is a must. It’s easy to fall off otherwise. But like any other valuable profession, this challenging field is also why there’s such substantial opportunity here.


Those who can push through with determination and grit thrive.

It’s incredibly easy and maybe tempting to hit a particular benchmark and want to coast. Remembering your motivation or driving factor(s) will assist in preventing you from becoming stagnant.


Allow Yourself to Have a Break

Whenever you feel yourself approaching burnout, give yourself a break. A real break. One with minimal responsibilities. Everyone moves differently, so I can't say how long it may take. Some parents can only get two days. Ideally, it's whatever you can afford and however long you need to rest to counter your fatigue.


Originally, I had another blog entry to kick off this year. But, I decided to switch to this topic as it recently impacted me after nearly four years of being in the profession.


I’ve seen successful professionals have burnout and take 6+ months to return to normal or leave the field altogether. I have no input on this, as everyone’s responsibilities vary.

I say this to say: Beware of Burnout and take whatever precautions you need to protect your mental health and peace. Regardless of where you are on your corporate ladder.


After all, we are only human…….


Cheers to a happy new year. I hope you have a prosperous year! Now, let's get to it!!




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