Cybersecurity Burnout - Recognition & Recovery Mini-Episode

We’ve met and passed the 1 year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and cases of burnout are off the charts. We’re tired of Zoom. We’re tired of masks. Far too many kids are stuck at home instead of at school. The list could go on but the result is obvious: we’re burned out. The effect can be all the more profound for beleaguered security professionals who often struggle with burn-out even at the best of times.

Jack and Dave return in this mini-episode for a quick conversation about how to identify and respond when you’re feeling like you’re burnt. While often it’s Dave and a guest doing most of the talking, in this episode Jack is driving. He shares from his deep experience on the topic, starting with an explanation of Maslach’s burn-out inventory which provides a structured, clear guide for determining just how crispy you are. The inventory is tailored for different professions, and while there is not one specific to cybersecurity, Jack andDave explore specific aspects of our industry that up the stakes for burn out.

Importantly, Jack explains why getting help from a pro versus leaning on friends and family can be essential. We wrap up with some time-honored approaches to restoring yourself so that you’re ready to  jump back in the action once again.

Note: For this short episode we tested a new production service and you’ll also note we updated the website and our branding as well. And transcripts! We now have 100% more transcripts than before. We’ll be unleashing all this magic soon on a new full-length podcast we recorded this past week with the one and only Melanie Ensign.

About this episode

We’ve met and passed the 1 year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and cases of burnout are off the charts. We’re tired of Zoom. We’re tired of masks. Far too many kids are stuck at home instead of at school. The list could go on but the result is obvious: we’re burned out. The effect can be all the more profound for beleaguered security professionals who often struggle with burn-out even at the best of times.

Jack and Dave return in this mini-episode for a quick conversation about how to identify and respond when you’re feeling like you’re burnt. While often it’s Dave and a guest doing most of the talking, in this episode Jack is driving. He shares from his deep experience on the topic, starting with an explanation of Maslach’s burn-out inventory which provides a structured, clear guide for determining just how crispy you are. The inventory is tailored for different professions, and while there is not one specific to cybersecurity, Jack andDave explore specific aspects of our industry that up the stakes for burn out.

Importantly, Jack explains why getting help from a pro versus leaning on friends and family can be essential. We wrap up with some time-honored approaches to restoring yourself so that you’re ready to  jump back in the action once again.

Note: For this short episode we tested a new production service and you’ll also note we updated the website and our branding as well. And transcripts! We now have 100% more transcripts than before. We’ll be unleashing all this magic soon on a new full-length podcast we recorded this past week with the one and only Melanie Ensign.

Meet our guest

Recognition & Recovery

Jack and Dave


Read the Transcript

[00:00:00] Jack: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome back to security voices. This is Jack, Dave, and I are happy to be back behind the microphones. After a bit of a break. In this short episode, we catch up a bit and then dig into the ever timely topic of burnout.

[00:00:27] And we're back with a. Returning to security voices podcast after a little break, a little different, it's just going to be Dave and I today. Dave, how are you doing? Doing 

[00:00:38] Dave: [00:00:38] okay. Doing okay. In accordance with the theme and our previous intro warmup here, I'm, I'm feeling a little burnt myself. So the topic of burnout is never been more apropos.

[00:00:52] So we're feeling elated after putting out a great new version of the Open Raven website, but Oh dear God. Putting it on a new [00:01:00] website, moving houses, selling a house and all the shenanigans and so forth. And it's still kind of lovey to lock down here in LA, it's getting better. We're in the red now, which means, you know, 25% open, you can dine in doors.

[00:01:14] And it's been like 50, 60 degrees in LA. So dinners outside are pretty bad idea. It's better. And it's, I'd say a lot of great things, but the weight of all those happy things. It's it's feels a little heavy at the moment. How are things for you 

[00:01:31] Jack: [00:01:31] different, but similar dealing with some family medical issues, which is always a burden.

[00:01:37] And I'm still in an area of the deep South where a lot of people aren't taking the pandemic seriously. Although I'm in an area where there are a lot of retirees and vaccination rates are very high. So there's this real split between those of us who take it seriously. And those who don't, the political situation is a little tense.

[00:02:00] [00:01:59] Life pressures are interesting. You mentioned the pandemic. There is a fear that I've gotten. Maybe it's just the security mindset of worst case scenario is that there's light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm afraid of people being dumb and that light at the end of the tunnel, being a Wiley coyote train coming out of the tunnel instead of daylight at the other end.

[00:02:20] And so things like the hacker conference series this summer, BSides Las Vegas, the board decided to go virtual this year. There's some people grumbling. A lot of people think it was the right idea. I happened to believe it was the right idea, but some people are grumbling. A lot of people really want to go to Vegas and pile thousands of people together.

[00:02:41] And these are the BSides communities my people, and some of them I think are rushing that a little bit. And so there's some tension with trying to keep people. Focused on being good for the community. And burnout is a topic that I've been interested in and discussed with people off and on for, well over a decade now.

[00:02:59] So [00:03:00] change in, like in your case change, even though it's a good change, change is still stressful and you're pile it all up and with a backdrop of the pandemic and civil unrest and political turmoil and uncertainty about a bunch of stuff. Well, A lot of people are feeling burnt out and you've got a school-age kid.

[00:03:19] That's a whole nother factor. I've got some friends that have four or five kids who are homeschooled because of the pandemic. And I've got a couple others that have several kids who are all going to school physically. And they're both horrified and worried about different things. I'll say that's 

[00:03:36] Dave: [00:03:36] one aspect that as soon as the kids could go back to school, as soon as, as soon as my son could get back in school, things immediately got better.

[00:03:44] That is such a relief. It's been amazing for him, for us. Everything from just social health and his happiness too. It's just being quiet in the house and which has made me more productive [00:04:00] and is fit too. It's just such a pain in the neck. So that one actually is remarkably better than what it was such a huge relief.

[00:04:09] And I think, you know, as things continue to open up, I think part of what's happening now too. And I was talking about this with my coach the other day. Is there's some anxiety. I think that's out there around things reopening too. I mean, particularly here in LA things have been closed down for a year.

[00:04:25] Well, my son went back to school. It'd been almost a full year since he'd been in a physical classroom and. And I find myself and I'm sure I'm not alone. Almost kind of afraid of going back to normal. Not because I'm afraid of getting sick, but I feel a hesitation that I might be overwhelmed by all that options for period of time.

[00:04:46] Things are so simple because everything was closed. And now mentally it's like, Oh my God, my precious little head's going to explode all these new options and the questions of what should you be doing and so forth. It's a really curious 

[00:04:59] Jack: [00:04:59] thing. [00:05:00] Yeah, absolutely. We're talking about popping in the RV and doing another run through the desert Southwest, and we're continued to be cautious.

[00:05:09] I'm not young, so that's a factor. But until we know a little bit more, it was many months ago when we had Andy Ellis on and he said, what you know about this today will be wrong tomorrow. And, uh, you know, almost a year later, that's still true. We're learning a lot. And it's why I'm really cautious about encouraging people to do things that might have privacy implications.

[00:05:31] But for those that are getting vaccinated, one of the things they offer and some places don't tell you about it, there's a CDC program called VI safe, and that's really simple. You sign up and they give you a text once a day for a week after your first shot. And then once a week for three or four weeks, depending on whether it's a one shot or two shot regime, if it's two shots, you get a.

[00:05:51] Question once a day for the seven days after the second shot. And all they're doing is asking about, do you have any side effects? Do you feel lethargic? You feel [00:06:00] nauseous. Were you able to work? Normally it's just a handful of simple questions and the more data, the better, it's important to be honest about side effects and also not overplay them.

[00:06:10] I think. The media is headline driven. Anecdotally, from talking to people, the younger you are, the more likely it is that your immune system is going to have put up a good fight. And you're going to feel worse, tends to hit women a little harder than men. The women that I know North of say 50, 55. The day after their shot, they were incredibly just wiped out, just couldn't do anything.

[00:06:35] And then they bounce back quickly. And if, you know, to expect that that's good, it's not to scare people. Just don't plan on running a marathon or even a half marathon for a couple of days after you get your second shot. Yeah. I 

[00:06:48] Dave: [00:06:48] mean the same thing. I know a lot of folks who have been vaccinated now. And, um, funny story in Compton, you can pretty much get an appointment to get vaccinated, no matter who [00:07:00] you are.

[00:07:01] A friend's 80 year old dad who lives in Brentwood, went to Compton to get a shot, and apparently anybody can do it. Now that was in the early days. But apparently they've walked around, literally gone door to door, trying to get them people get vaccinated in the neighborhood and it's just done. So if you're willing to go into competence, which has its own risks associated with it, you can get vaccinated.

[00:07:24] Now in 

[00:07:25] Jack: [00:07:25] LA, it's been crazy watching the rollout. I've friends in Philadelphia and. A private medical non-profit set up mass vaccination things, and they just tore through people down here in the South end to Georgia where Georgia threw it up County by County and every County is on their own to figure it out.

[00:07:45] This is an interesting County of their corners in the islands, where there are people with a lot of money. I mean a lot of money. And then there other parts of the islands they're retirees who are not scraping by on social security, but not rich, but they're doing [00:08:00] okay. And then a lot of folks in the County are well below the poverty line.

[00:08:06] And the upside of the poverty issue is that the County health department has to be good because these people don't have resources. And so we have a great County health department and they have done an absolutely stunning job. Of a drive through testing of vaccination. They got swamped initially, and they've gotten swamped now that the state is lowered to 55 and up, but they recover quickly.

[00:08:32] It took the hospital chain a little bit longer, but until they dropped the age to 55, you could get a same-day vaccination appointment at two different places in the County. And the few couldn't get a day off during the week, we had mass vaccination site on Saturdays and you could get a same-day appointment.

[00:08:50] And then I listened to, you know, like what's happening and where you still live in Massachusetts, where they can't keep the website up. But, you know, I mean, it's not like Massachusetts has a reputation for technology, so I [00:09:00] guess that's expected. And then I look at other, you know, just a few counties away.

[00:09:04] It's bad. They can't get people to do it. And then the people who think it's a conspiracy and people think they're getting, you know, the, the conspiracy theories are a whole nother challenge. I don't know. Anybody's who's cell phone reception has gotten better after being vaccinated. Hmm, 

[00:09:22] Dave: [00:09:22] I'll say this across the U S of course, it's really variable.

[00:09:25] And your mileage varies depending on where you are, but you compare it to where Europe is at right now. And I think, you know, of all the circus, the U S has been for the past four or five years, this is at least something we could look at it and say, you know what, the fact that quarter of the population and more vaccinated.

[00:09:43] And some of it's at least working reasonably well heck given the circumstance of where we came from, that feels like 

[00:09:51] Jack: [00:09:51] a win. Yeah, absolutely. There's light at the end of the tunnel progress is being made compared to a lot of parts of the world we're doing remarkably well. [00:10:00] You know, there's certainly places that are doing better besides Canberra is going to be in 2,400 plus in-person event with government blessing in Canberra in a little over a month.

[00:10:14] Dave: [00:10:14] Camera is a pretty small city. They're probably just delighted to have humans coming. They're like, Oh God restart, restart 

[00:10:21] Jack: [00:10:21] the economy. Right. They're going to be cautious. I expect there be a lot of masks and the folks are really concerned about it. And it's at a university. You know, they're following all the guidelines, but they've got it under control.

[00:10:32] And I think that's a hopeful sign starting to see the sides that are being held in person. And on a reduced scale, that's an event that actually could be substantially larger if they could throw it open. Cause they're at reduced capacity. So there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but meanwhile, we have some baggage built up over the past year plus of our we're in our 14th month of March here.

[00:10:56] Dave: [00:10:56] On that note. It's a good time to segue over to the burnout [00:11:00] conversation. It's certainly not unique to security, particularly in the past year, but it's a long going thing in cyber for a whole bunch of reasons. Let's cover that for just a quick moment. What makes burnout. A bigger issue in cyber security than another fields.

[00:11:18] What are the things that are unique to our industry? 

[00:11:21] Jack: [00:11:21] I think that one of the things that we found 10 years ago, and it's been echoed in the couple of smaller surveys that I've seen is that we have a tendency towards cynicism and the explanation that I've come up with and people think makes sense, is that to be good?

[00:11:43] In a security role, you need a healthy dose of skepticism. You have to question things and you have to challenge things after a while of getting beat up by the realities of resources and the adversarial nature of the job. It's [00:12:00] easy to slide over into cynicism. And if you look at the clinical work, the foundational work by Dr.

[00:12:07] Christina Maslach. She defined three key components of clinical burnout and they are exhaustion, personal efficacy and cynicism, the original one dealt with people who dealt with people. Face-to-face so social workers, healthcare workers, and in that case, it wasn't cynicism was depersonalization. And that was when you no longer treated your clients.

[00:12:33] Our patients and no longer considered them humans. When you lost that personal touch in the case of professional fields, they adjusted that to be cynicism and the cynicism is a bad thing. The more cynical you are, the worse it is, you need the, all three of them to be in the bad scales to meet the clinical definition.

[00:12:52] So exhaustion is pretty straightforward. It's not just physical, but it's also mental exhaustion. It's emotional exhaustion is a big [00:13:00] factor and. Anecdotally, what we think is the key is personal efficacy. That is how well do you think you're doing? How well do you think you are performing? And it's personal.

[00:13:13] That makes a difference because if you think you are doing well, even though you're kind of fatalistic about the hopes of securing. Your organization with no resources or defending against whatever you're doing. I think I'm doing a good job helps drag us through. And what we sometimes see is that if there is an event that makes you question that a breach, a breakdown of some sort that makes you think, well, maybe I'm not doing well.

[00:13:44] Then the emotional support that comes from that goes away and your emotional exhaustion. Explodes. And now you've gone from, I'm doing pretty good. Yeah, I'm tired, but it's okay. I'm doing good stuff here. And then it just collapses. And I've seen, seen [00:14:00] that several times, you know, again, that's. The way I described the stuff we've done is it's too small, a sample to be anything I'd write a paper on, but it's statistically insignificant, but potentially informative, I think is the best way to look at it.

[00:14:15] There's enough to make some good assumptions and that's what we've seen. But I also mentioned the adversarial nature of what happens in security. You know, they're outside forces attacking us. If you're on the defense side, they're outside forces attacking us. If you do the red team offensive security stuff, you're still.

[00:14:32] In an offensive role. If you have a big picture understanding of the industry, you understand that your fighting fights. Also some people that are doing stuff that's really compliance, driven that are doing red teaming and not doing that defense stuff. They still see the futility of what they do because a lot of people that do penetration testing.

[00:14:52] Change the date on the reports that they do annually and do a search and replace for a couple of other keywords and give them the same report year after [00:15:00] year. And that's kind of soul crushing after awhile, the fourth year in a row that you get into the company easily. It's not like steak dinner time.

[00:15:07] You're not going to celebrate your victory because it turns out that's not a victory. So those are some of the thoughts that I've got. You know, I'd 

[00:15:14] Dave: [00:15:14] say what really rings true to me there. And the words that came to mind as you were talking about, it was. Security is a cost center, right? At the end of the day, it's a cost center and you get treated as a cost center.

[00:15:27] Somehow you're the most important in the room. If there's a breach and things go wrong. But at the end of the day, in the in-between times when you're kind of quietly doing a good job and there's nothing there, your budget's getting cut. You're seeing, Oh, I wouldn't say with disdain, but you're a necessary evil.

[00:15:47] And that juxtaposition of tons of responsibility being on the hook, if something goes wrong and the fear of that, and at the same time, like being seen as a necessary evil. [00:16:00] And if you look at how chronically. Under-trained people are and look at the move to the cloud. The business led to the move to the cloud.

[00:16:09] Security was largely left behind. We talked about there during our whole cloud security series. We see the same thing happening now with data where basically the security people were on the hook for data breaches. Did they have any of the tools that the data science team or, or even the people at BI tools have they don't, they don't even know where their data is, let alone how it's protected.

[00:16:30] And I think this chronic condition of you're on the hook for this, and it could go wrong at any moment, but Oh, by the way, I'm going to bother you, training you as much as you need and, or kind of treat you as a necessary evil and Oh, you know, if we need to cut budget, Can't really measure this and yeah, that's depressing.

[00:16:52] That's a heavy, heavy weight. 

[00:16:55] Jack: [00:16:55] Oh, yeah, it absolutely is. And you know, you're talking about training, but we get into the whole HR thing. And one of the [00:17:00] things that happens in variably, when we talk about burnout is people push back and say things like we're well paid. We have job security people, aren't shooting at us and all of those things, and there's a certain amount of truth to that.

[00:17:13] But on the other hand, there are things that are very different. First of all, the whole job thing. We've talked about this before. It's not always possible to just go get another job depending on what your skill set is, what your specialty is, where you are, whether or not you can relocate whether or not you have the resources locally, even to work remote.

[00:17:33] That's really limiting the fact that nobody will nobody, but the fact that few organizations train well to keep people on top of their game means that you're competing with outdated skillset. Unless you have the personal resources to train yourself up in your copious spare time. So there are some real challenges.

[00:17:54] It's not that simple. You can't just get another job. We've talked about recruiting, being broken in many [00:18:00] ways. Kathleen joined us to talk about that then, you know, there's another thing. Whenever people push back that I like to say, I truly, I believe that we do skew worse than most professions, but even if we don't.

[00:18:12] Even if we're actually as an industry, better off than most others. We're talking about our friends, our coworkers, and our peers let's take care of our own. And if you don't want to do it because it's the right and decent thing to do, if we don't do it and they burn out. Guess what we have to pick up the workload.

[00:18:38] Yeah. You can go about this altruistically Machiavellian either way. It comes back to, you know, we ought to do a better job of taking care of our own. So three years ago, I think, I don't know, RSA a few years ago. Josh Corman interviewed Dr. MAs Locke. It was great because she's the pioneer in this field.

[00:18:59] She and [00:19:00] some others, but she's the one whose name is tied to it. The standard reference test for clinical burnout is the Maslach burnout inventory. And at one point she said, people always ask, is it me? Or is it the job? And she says, after decades of work in the field, I can assure you it's the job just flat out.

[00:19:20] It's the job. 

[00:19:21] Dave: [00:19:21] Let's honor index. If you were to go through that and can people find it 

[00:19:25] Jack: [00:19:25] online, you can find it online. It really focuses. This is on those three things. So if you, if you Google, Maslach M a S L a C H burnout inventory, or just MBI, you'll probably find it. I think the company mind garden has the gate to the official copies of it, but you can find samples out there.

[00:19:46] It really does ask questions. That get to how effective you feel personally you're in healthcare or social service. You get the other one that asks how personally attached you are to people, whether you [00:20:00] feel personal or depersonalized, whether or not you're cynical, whether or not you are exhausted and how you feel about your own efficacy.

[00:20:08] And it asks a handful of questions to get that information. And it's pretty simple. And. You have to score in the bad zone of all three to meet the clinical thing, but it's like looking at one of those four or five question surveys on alcoholism, just answering the questions is going to give you a hint.

[00:20:29] You know, if they say as your relationship with alcohol ever. Caused problems in personal relationships. Has it ever caused problems and employment? It will. If you answer those, yes. You don't need to click what's my score at the end, right? It's the same thing asking yourselves, these questions is important and it's, you know, the stuff's out there and there's a lot of resources out there.

[00:20:51] And the main thing is it's a lot of people are really feeling burnt out and something that's really, it's [00:21:00] hard to say what the factors are. But in the cyber security, we have a lot of people who are narrative urgent. We have people who come to us that have an amazing strengths that may come from possibly being on spectrum autism spectrum could be ADHD, which they figure out how to manage and people turn these differences into amazing assets.

[00:21:28] I don't want to make any assumptions here or make any broad statements, but we don't treat burnout well as a society. I mean, we don't treat mental illness while we're getting better, but we don't treat mental illness. Well as a society, we don't treat burnout well as a society for, for what I'll call the normal people.

[00:21:49] So people who are off of the median, we're really failing them in a lot of ways. And this may be a factor. I certainly don't know. But I certainly do know some [00:22:00] people that have told me that they work really hard to fit into a work environment because of who they are and the way they're wired. And they do great jobs, but if you ask them to do something else, you're putting pressure on them that you don't realize.

[00:22:16] And you know, employers don't get this. And I mean, that goes back. You talked about training. Not only we not train people for technical stuff, we, uh, and this believe me is not unique to us, man. We don't always train managers to be good managers. And we certainly don't train them to be good personnel managers.

[00:22:35] I mean, the auto industry is far worse than this. One of the things that used to happen with regularity decades ago when I was a mechanic, was the service manager in more than one job was a former mechanic who got injured on the job and ended up working on the service desk. And so their qualification was a disability.

[00:22:56] And, uh, I mean, that's cruel, but they were not given the skills and, [00:23:00] and some of them figured it out quickly. Some of them were good diagnosticians and took them awhile to adjust to diagnosing business issues instead of issues with your sob. But a lot of them didn't figure it out and the training's not there, so we're not unique, but if we don't train managers to.

[00:23:19] Deal with people as people, as well as how to manage technology, we're going to crawl forward, not advanced fast, 

[00:23:27] Dave: [00:23:27] and by the way, the Wikipedia entry on mass lacks burnout inventory is pretty good. I mean, it covers it at a high level. I'm looking at it here. So I start there and again, that's, maslak M a S L a C H.

[00:23:41] What are the things you have a talk coming up on this? What are the things that are kind of broadly recommended or at least what do you do when you look through your index here and say, okay, I'm over clocked. There's clearly a problem, but do you restore your energy? How do you get back to a place where you feel like you're [00:24:00] ready to go again?

[00:24:01] Jack: [00:24:01] That's a long conversation and I'm far from an expert, but I've asked the question of a lot of people and there are some very common answers, disconnecting. There's a whole bucket of things that comes down to do something. Preferably outdoors, people do camping, fishing. Pets are a huge thing. Take long walks with the dog or curl up on the couch with the cats, do something.

[00:24:26] That's not technology. One of the things that's really helpful, but it's also a stress factor is disconnecting from technology and there's that fear of being disconnected. And so if you're going to try that figure a way to do it for small bits of time. Don't try to disconnect for a week at a time on your first go try to take an afternoon off.

[00:24:49] There are ways to manage things, you know, get out in some physical activity of exercise in it. It doesn't have to be powerlifting. Although there are a fair number of people that are, or lifters I've [00:25:00] discovered in the security world. Get out, go for a walk on the beach. If you can. Of course, people that took out their frustrations in the gym, depending on where you are.

[00:25:09] And whether or not you're vaccinated, I'm not sure I would recommend going into a gym right now. You know, my office is really cluttered because there's a weight bench and a small, slow assortment of weights right over there. So do something as a thing. Also, there are other disconnections, I mean, they're big, broad buckets of things.

[00:25:26] Like the last time I asked the question, a whole bunch of people said they drank to access. And there's actually a small bit of good news in there. The last time I brought that up, most people said they didn't feel good about it as opposed to celebrating it. It's like, I'm not happy about it, but it's getting me through this thing.

[00:25:48] That's a step in the right direction. And as someone who's a cocktail efficient auto that's, we have to be. Respectful of the dangers of alcohol. Yeah. There are other things. A lot of people love games, being gamers. For me, the [00:26:00] idea of spending more time in front of a digital device just makes me crazy.

[00:26:03] And I worry about that. But if that actually disconnects you, if you get into the game deep enough, that's great. A lot of people find music, either listening or creating music. I don't have the talent to create it. Doesn't stop me from adding to the guitar collection of guitars. I'm not playing, but music is a big deal for some people.

[00:26:21] And finding somebody that you trust that understands this, that you can share with, talk about it. And if you have a mutual support system, if you've got other people that know this or have been through this and you can talk to them, there's the caveat there don't be. The person who only takes in those relationships, make sure you're giving support the flip side though.

[00:26:45] Don't be the person that everybody leans on without having somebody to lean on yourself. And I'll be really candid. It was not through burnout, but through, you know, losing my wife, that the hurricanes, her journey. And then my grief of afterwards, I. [00:27:00] Got into this thing where I played caregiver to way too many people, because it was a great way to not address the things I had to work through myself, dear friend, who, you know, I used to check up on finally one day called me out on it.

[00:27:13] And she was like, you know, sooner or later you have to stop asking how I am and answer me when I ask how you are. Oh my gosh, shit. Uh, If you can find somebody to talk to, and if you have insurance and you aren't worried about the stigma, which I hope you're not man talk to a professional and it doesn't have to be a psychologist.

[00:27:36] There are a couple of therapists in town here that I spoke to getting through the grief of losing my wife and starting life over. And it was great. And mostly I talked and she was one of those classics who mostly just listened. And every second or third session, she would ask me one single simple question towards the end of our 30 minute session, that would.

[00:27:55] Blow the back of my head off and that I would spend the next week [00:28:00] or two reassembling my skull, trying to answer a really simple question. If you can find those people and it's who works for you, maybe that is a religious leader that you know, that that could be somebody in church. It could be somebody that you trust that will listen to you.

[00:28:17] Non-judgmentally the only reason I hesitated to say churches. It's gotta be someone who's nonjudgmental. Yeah. Yeah, there are a lot of people who listen. Well, it just remember that if you are sharing this with a professional, they are required to take care of themselves too. That's actually part of what they do.

[00:28:36] And it's one of the reasons to share these burdens with professionals they're required. To work with other professionals to take care of themselves as part of licensing, because you shouldn't take this burden on yourself, which is one of the reasons I like to remind folks of that. So you have to get out, do some exercise, get outside, do some things, touch base with people.

[00:28:59] We're all sick of [00:29:00] zoom, but you know what? I'm not sick of. I'm not sick of. Seeing friends on zoom for a little while we, I just caught up with staff and Patty a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful. I mean, I'd much rather him here sampling my rum collection or me they're sampling his whiskey collection, but catch up with folks and don't expect too much from it just, yeah.

[00:29:19] And I think 

[00:29:20] Dave: [00:29:20] those chaining this back to the start of the conversation, those kinds of honest. Conversations with deep context of seeing the person in person and maybe even outdoors and doing things outside and the availability of more things. I think it's one of those, all those things have been.

[00:29:40] Obstructed in the past year by COVID and made all that so much harder. And I think it's why people felt so much more kind of acute burnout over the last 12 months, not to mention even outside of all the negative news of the pandemic and the political situation and all of that itself. Just the absence of all those things [00:30:00] that you talked about, how much harder it was to get those things that in and of itself made it a lot harder.

[00:30:05] But Hey, you know, like we talked about things are looking better. But I think also saying like, look, even reopening stuff, creates some stress and anxiety that we're all going to have to grapple with and be honest about and so forth. So, uh, you know, things are simultaneously getting better, but it's not going to get better right away.

[00:30:25] And even the bettering process is a little nervy and stressy. So here we go. 

[00:30:32] Jack: [00:30:32] Absolutely loneliness is a stress factor in itself. I mean, we're hardwired, our lizard brain says, Oh no, I'm alone. I need to not get eaten by the tiger in the bushes. And we haven't unlearned that. And that's a survival thing.

[00:30:47] That's hard wired into us. And so it turns out the past year has not been great for the social connections that we need, especially for some of us who are lucky that have. People in the house with us, people that are in good situations. So [00:31:00] yeah, there's light at the end of the tunnel, but let's be careful because as you said, it's, I mean, even the stuff returning to normal is kind of scary, right?

[00:31:07] Dave: [00:31:07] Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well, here's the better 

[00:31:09] Jack: [00:31:09] days. Thanks for listening to this episode of security voices. We'll be back in a few weeks with a regular episode, featuring another great conversation. This one, charting a path for Marine biology to founding a company by way of cybersecurity. Until then be safe. .