Mentoring: On meeting your **Heroes**
I put heroes in asterisks because none of us have paparazzi following us around. I regularly use Val Smith's quote about even the most popular infosec person is like being a famous bowler. Except for rare exceptions, no one outside of our community knows who we are. I've broken into at least one company from every vertical and my neighbor just asks me to help configure his wifi.
This topic came up because the person I'm mentoring met "a famous infosec person" and the guy proceed to be a drunk dbag to him. It ended up taking quite a bit of wind out of his sail to have someone he kinda looked up to bag on his current career state and talks he was working on.
When I first joined the army how I thought anyone with a "tower of power" (Expert Infantry Badge, Airborne, Air Assault) was an awesome, do no wrong, individual. Shit, If someone has all this shit on their chest they must be badass right??!!
Well the Army does a great job of stacking the people you initially meet as being pretty decent individuals. I think most people think highly of their drill sergeants their entire life. So the first few people I met that had these badges reaffirmed this belief. Then I got out and met a few more and was completely let down at the quality of these people. When I say let down, I mean defeated/totally bothered that these people didn't live up to the pedestal I had put them on. It REALLY bothered me.
What you learn is that in the military you get to wear a badge you earned at any point in your career your entire career. So maybe as some point someone was awesome enough to earn a badge. This doesn't mean they are a great leader, still good at what the badge means they are good at or even a good person. It means at one point in time they met a criteria and earned a badge.
How does this relate to Infosec?
We are all humans and generally react poorly to any sort of fame.
A good chunk of us are introverts.
The "community" values exploits and clever hacks over being a good person or helping others.
We have people that 10 years later are still riding the vapor trails of some awesome shit they did but havent done anything else relevant since. Some people have giant egos that only care about you if you are currently in the process of kissing their ass. To be fair if people ARE kissing your ass its hard not get an ego but you have to work hard to check that shit at the door.
Remember we are famous bowlers?
What can you do?
Check your ego.
Help (mentor) others.
Always remember how you felt when that hero dissed you when you are someone else's hero.