#44CON: Establishing a Mental Health Toolbox
Noting the warning lights to assess your levels of stress and mental health now, and in the future, can save a lot of anguish in your working life.
Speaking at 44CON in London on the issue of dealing with mental health, Duo Security CISO advisory group member J Wolfgang Goerlich recommended a strategy of a “career owners manual” and knowing what to do to “make sure you have got a career and what you’re doing well.”
He recommended having a the right state of health to be able to thrive in what he called a “good community,” where we need to be supportive of others, as “a lot of us struggle.”
Goerlich advised taking a back seat, stepping back from work for a few months and to avoid being afraid of duplicating work.
When looking at yourself in a current position, he recommended taking the following steps:
- Look at how your culture fits the company culture. Are we happy with the people in our organization “and do they make us feel good?”
- Are our values reflected in theirs, and do we feel good about ourselves when we look in the mirror or do we feel like we are compromising ourselves?
- Are the tasks we are doing good?
- Is diversity good where we work, as diversity beings different perspective and points of view
“You need to be sure the inputs line up, as different companies have different values” he said, as if we are unhappy, it is too easy to ignore warning lights around our mental health, and it is too easy to take a “teenager’s action” as they ignore warning lights on a car. These warning lights should be around:
- Physiological effects
- Non-competitive compensation
- Lack of training
- Lack of career path
- Poor teamwork
- Poor leadership
- No appreciation or recognition
- Misaligned values and culture
In terms of tools, Goerlich recommended relaxing, recharging and re-learning, and doing “what is good for you.” This included time off work, what Goerlich called “zero days,” to recharge. The steps to take to recharge are as follows:
Weekly: prepare for the week ahead, do the “basic things,” de-stress and energize, and review the previous week.
Monthly: review stress, check warning lights, and schedule “zero days.”
Quarterly: check your health, review accomplishments, review learning, plan for next quarter, and schedule time off.
Annually: annual job reviews, and annually review your job.
Decade: asses who you are now, what you enjoy now, and where is the job market going?
“Make sure you have got the tools in your toolbox and are doing maintenance on your career,” he concluded. “This [cybersecurity] is a fantastic career and industry, but we see too many people struggle.”