Tuesday, August 9, 2011


While The InfoSecMentors Project may be on a break until September, there are still plenty of conversations happening about mentoring! One blog post in particular has so correctly hit the nail on the head I wish I could copy and paste the whole thing! (But I won't. Remember kids, plagiarism is bad m'kay!)

This article comes from Ramit Sethi at iwillteachyoutoberich.com (not a security-related blog, but couldn't hurt to read it) called "Why Successful People Don't Want To Mentor You." His take is that these days so few people actually put in the work to be a good mentee that it has left a bad taste in everyone's mouth about being a mentor. So it's not entirely your fault that it is so hard to find a good mentor. Fortunately, those that really do want to put in the effort will be part of a very short list that gets catapulted to the top. Ramit explains exactly how to do just a few hours of work before you approach your ideal mentor to guarantee they will jump at the opportunity to work with you.

From the article:
  • "Here is the 1-2-3 Choice Technique: “Hi Ramit, I love your book on blah blah. I noticed you said I should XYZ in chapter 5, and so I tried it. I’m stuck due to XYZ. So I’ve come up with 3 possible routes:
    • blah blah1
    • blah blah2
    • blah blah3

Which do you think I should do?

This will get almost a 100% response rate, since you have actually done the work in your head…plus all I have to do is tell you which is best. GOOD JOB."


I also thought the article had an interesting point about how as mentors we create these huge artificial barriers to intentionally make it difficult to contact us, perhaps without realizing it. Having your email address public may not be practical for other reasons, but at least consider making your LinkedIn profile public and be responsive there. And if you're a mentee, please be respectful of this direct access you have to the people in your industry. You may not realize it now but being "kooky," flakey, or lame is actually ruining it for the rest of us!

As part of the InfoSecMentors Project, I can vouch that everything in this article is true. The substantial majority of mentees are not doing the legwork, and so setting yourself apart is very doable (and totally worth it!) Look through past examples on this blog about the type of projects and jobs people get exposed to after they do the homework. Listen to the podcast at the end of Ramit's article for dozens more specific examples. Do this, and as Ramit said, "you will find people that LOVE helping other ambitious people who take action."

Good luck! (Not that you need it!)

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