I’m a VP, and it’s for the Birds

About 11 months ago at work, I took the opportunity of a lifetime.

Vice President and Director of Information Security

A 12% increase to my already-solid six-figure salary (plus bonuses), an extra week of vacation. More power to effect positive change, and a department with an operation that needed exactly what I was designed (and held a proven track record) for: to build a high-performance team; well-documented and efficient operation; and to dig the department’s reputation out of a stinky dumpster.

Ahead of Schedule

My original plan had been to work my way into a director-level position by maybe age 35 and then get into a C-level position by age 40, possibly at a smaller organization. But there I was, 30 years of age, with an offer to make more money than I had considered possible, and so soon.

I took the job and GOT BUSY figuring out how I would turn it all around.

The Geek (Cybersecurity) Stuff

In truth, we have made a ton of progress. I am extremely happy with the team we’ve built, and together we have
implemented significant improvements to several of our core cybersecurity controls. My geek readers will appreciate that we’ve decreased our overall system vulnerability risk score by 77% in less than a year. The department has a structure that better supports its mission, and the security staff are learning and maturing in their roles. Being held accountable for mistakes and under-performing, the oxygen thieves are disappearing (slowly but surely), and we are replacing them with highly skilled, hungry, enthusiastic work horses.

I Would Trade It All

…for more TIME.

More time to continue getting to know my wife as an individual and friend.

More time to help my wife wrangle the kids and prepare meals (together).

More time to have help my 18 month old daughter learn to walk, or learn to use her fingers to pick up cheerios. I’ll write a post soon about my daughter’s condition.

More time to sit down and eat dinner as a family every night. Not just some nights when I get home 20 minutes before food is on the table. I rush past my daughter who is scooting toward me, little arms raised high as they go.

Sorry, Baby. Daddy is off to the kitchen to try to work away the feeling of grief by contributing in some small way.

(I probably get to hold her for about 20 minutes a day, during the work week.)

More time to write and share my experiences as a debt destroyer, a leader, and as a successful geek.

More time to start my own business(es) and develop some of the hundreds of ideas floating around in my head.

More time to read for leisure.

More time to travel and see more of this amazing planet and its many inhabitants and cultures.

More time NOT in a car driving to and from a job where I’m anything but the owner.

Straight-A Students

I sit in meetings most of the day now. It reminds me of being assigned to teams for projects throughout my MBA coursework.

Most of the senior managers are what I call “Straight-A Students”. These are the people who sat right up front in class, thrived on the attention of the teacher, and very amicably repeated back or agreed with whatever the teacher said or asked. I used to look up to all of them. Now, I sit next to them and wonder, “what did I see that I admired so much?” Was it the position and the power? Was it the recognition? I really don’t know now.

I’ve seen how the sausage is made, and I want out.

On the Brink of Breakthrough

It’s coming.

I know the breakthrough is nearing. I know that something’s gotta give. That’s why I started this blog. It’s why I’ve started consulting on the side. It’s why my mind races with ideas and what-if scenarios all day long.

In 2014, I became 100% debt free after paying off my last debt, the mortgage. I created this site to talk about that experience and help others achieve similar goals.

I don’t know where I will end up, but I believe the next few years will be yet another remarkable story to tell, and I hope you are with me as it happens.


Get Your Act Together.

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10 Replies to “I’m a VP, and it’s for the Birds”

  1. Been there. Done that. My best piece of advice. Have an exit plan. Those gigs aren’t sustainable. Health. Family. Finances. Take full advantage of the advantages to leverage FIRE, but be ready to check out anytime.

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