You’ve seen them.
I know you have.
Those (normally) guys who think they’re “THE MAN” when it comes to security, and that they rightly have the business by the short and curlies because, well, they can’t be trusted not to run with scissors, FFS…
While they THINK they’re operating 1,000% in “badass” territory, in reality they’re spending about 1,000,000% of their time in “arrogant prick” territory—and everyone knows it.
So, while we all don’t want to be “that guy”…it’s somewhat useful to figure out the origin story of the “arrogant prick” persona we’re talking about so far.
Maybe he juggled razor blades as a kid just for fun because the rest of his life wasn’t really worth the non-existent ink the money his mother didn’t have when he was growing up thanks to his dad running off with the local librarian window-washer…
…or maybe, he was a “good kid” who didn’t get kissed by the right girl in school, so he took it on himself to withdraw into his “lair-o-doom” and wreak havoc on all the “normal people” in the world until he had sated himself with the vengeance due a young heart deprived of love’s first kiss…
…OR…maybe, in his younger days, he was, in fact, a Security Badass (SB) – that’s kinda like “BA” in the A-Team, but with a security hat on instead of a special forces patch…
And this young security badass did everything he could possibly do within his sphere of influence to keep his employers safe. He did all the trainings. He went to all the conferences, and he occasionally got trotted out in meetings with “the business” to talk about all that technical security stuff that made the virtual propellers on his imaginary hat go madly spinning around.
But…after a while, he began to get it.
“The business” was actually evil. They didn’t get it today, and they’d never get it—ever. They were too busy trying to put the organization in danger…
…that same, precious organization he was hired to protect.
So he transformed himself…
Security Badass (SB) was NO MORE.
Now…he was NFWman.
And his mission was to keep them safe whether they wanted – or liked – it or not.
So he made his career welding his superpower of “NO”—whenever and wherever it was required.
“No, you can’t expose that service to the Internet. Are you f**!!@#R?? crazy?”
“No, you can’t have THAT device. Don’t you know they’re a cesspool of greasy filth laid open to the whims of those script-kiddie pissheads sitting out there. And they’re waiting for you to make a mistake. Just ONE mistake, and they’ll be eating your eyeballs with the metal ends of virus-infested USB sticks!”
It’s sad really.
Because the line between Badass Security Dude and Business-inhibiting Arrogant Prick really isn’t that wide. And people who start out with the best intentions can easily lose sight of what’s really at stake…
…when they’re tired
…when they’re overwhelmed
…and when they can’t get the support from – well – anyone to do what they know is right.
And do you know what the saddest thing of all really is?
In many cases, it’s their own fault.
You see, they didn’t really understand what they were trying to do.
Safety is nothing without utility, and the company you work for wouldn’t even need you if they were going to prioritize sitting on the couch watching re-runs of Survivor and eating chocolate-covered bon-bons over actually making a difference in the world.
So yes, the story above was a dramatization. And I know you’ve never met anyone like that – or that extreme – in real life.
But the lesson remains.
Frustration…lack of support…unappreciated suggestions…and overload can have a dark side. A very dark side.
But it can all be avoided if you focus on what you’re supposed to be doing and you make the effort.
The problem with the Arrogant Prick is that it’s all about them. They try to show everyone how amazing they are—and they do it at the expense of everyone else.
The Badass uses their superpowers for good—every time.
So, it isn’t the tone or the vocabulary. Or whether the language is flowery or foul. It’s the objective. And that objective tells you pretty easily which one is which.
But the tricky thing is that it’s a slope more slippery than we’d like to believe between one and the other…
Given enough frustration, even the baddest Badass in the world can have their Arrogant Prick moment if they aren’t careful.
So the question becomes, what’s the Badass Security Leader going to do about it?
Are you ready to prevent this happening to the good people in your team?
Can you already do what it takes to release the pressure and prevent the Apocalypse of the Arrogant Pricks?
Super. I’m glad.
But if you can’t, let’s talk.
Here’s the link: https://archistry.com/go/SecurityLeader
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive