November 24th, 2021

Anticipation and Thanksgiving - WST

As an auditor, I am sometimes reminded, either directly or indirectly, that I am pessimistic, and have been described as “negative” at times. Well, yeah! Although I do get opportunities to point out the good things being done in IT security, I have to point out the inadequacies, too. And, as an IT professional for over 23 years now, it’s just something that goes with the territory. Before audit, I was always fixing a never-ending litany of broken things and dealing with problems; either with infrastructure, personnel, corporate politics, or trying to anticipate some threat actor wanting to do harm to my institution.

Pessimism and negativity built on circumstances like those illustrated above are difficult ruts to get out of, and traits that require counterbalance, so they don’t become a constant part of life—always anticipating the worst in people or things. Here are some tips for getting out of those ruts in both work and personal settings:

  1. Stop trying to anticipate things that haven’t happened. Let go of the things you cannot change and identify the things you can. And don’t let your imagination run away with your sanity.
  2. People are generally good and reasonable, and working toward the same success goals you are.
  3. Communicate with the people and avoid doing it through email, instant messaging, or text. Do it in person or pick up the phone. So much detail is lost in translation.
  4. Remember that even if tempers flare, there is always a solution, and the person you are sparring with is likely as passionate about their concerns as you are about yours.
  5. Simply try to anticipate less and lower your expectations. Is what you are doing or asking reasonable, or just completely off the deep end?
  6. And as a colleague of mine is fond of saying, “None of this matters.” If you read between the lines, what he is saying is it really does matter, but it’s not worth your health and well-being. So let go. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

While I was putting together this admittedly cathartic writing, I was also reflecting on being thankful — ‘tis the season.

I am truly thankful for the good times and the good people. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for my coworkers, who care for each other and about me. I am thankful for our customers, who not only keep us employed but also care about their own institutions and coworkers, and the safety and security of their customers and their assets.

If you find yourself in the doldrums this holiday, remember that someone out there is thankful for you and cares about you! If you are reading this, we care about you.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help this holiday season, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or text HELLO to 741741.

Authored by: Mike Smith, AWS CCP

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