stepping out of the hacker rut

Rafal Los threw out a nice article this weekend, “Steps to Avoid Mental Stagnation – Or how to re-awake your inner hacker:”

What worries me is when you’ve been working in corporate IT for 10+ years in a single organization or a single organizational profile (education, finance, whatever) and you can’t seem to break free of a specific train of thought.

I have worked in my current position 5.5 years, and I can sympathize with the broad points. In fact, I’m a bit sensitive to it this year in knowing I’m getting behind on the things I don’t have exposure to in my business, or even things that are under the purview of another team member and not myself.

One idea I’d add along with the ideas Rafal adds is to work to carve out some free time. This can either be at work or in your personal life, where you just tinker with some of those things you want to do that are on the topic of security, whether it means participating in PTES, the social network of security, coding some new things, or standing up a better lab to test tools you’ve long put off. At work, I strongly believe that good admins need a significant amount of free time to poke at strange things, learn new things, try stuff out, and stay happy (I’ve seen this talked about with *any* IT discipline and have often heard the number 30% free time thrown out).