February 24, 2014: The Day I Became the “Cool One”
Mar 19, 2014
If you’re like me and work in high tech, explaining what you do to your non-high-tech friends and family can be a daunting task. And if you happen to work in IT or, say, for a networking and security company, the task can sometimes feel like mission impossible.
For months, I’ve tried to explain to my kids what I do for a living. Not only am I a hard-to-define marketing professional in the security industry, but I’m also competing against their friends’ parents whose professions are the less vague variety—like police officer, firefighter, teacher. Try as I might to describe the important role I play in their ever connected lives, I can’t seem to win against the Apple parents who arrive home with new iPads or iPhones. No, really. I live in Silicon Valley and we really do have those Apple parents in our schools!
So, you may be wondering, what changed on Monday, February 24?
The long and short of it: everything.
RSA 2014 was about to begin, and not only was Juniper going to be delivering an amazing keynote, but we were also featuring our new counter-security game: Deception Force. It gave me an idea.
That morning, before I headed to the conference, I asked my son to go to the App store and download the game. I thought it might be a great—and visual—way to tell him about Mom’s job. The request alone perked his interest. His eyes practically danced with delight as he asked, “Wait. You make games?”
“No,” I said, only slightly dejected, “but just watch the video trailer, start the game, and then I’ll tell you more about my job.”
Unlike any other request I may usually have for him, this one was attended to immediately. The soundtrack of the proceeding minutes went something like this, “Whoa . . . cool . . . very cool . . . fun . . . scary!”
After about five minutes, I interrupted, “Now, do you want to know what your mom does at work? I help create the weapons needed to defend and protect your data. So for things like your applications and games, it’s my job to help protect them against different attacks and monsters. In fact, with the same weapons you’re using in this game.”
A light bulb switched on. My son looked up at me in a whole new way. And, in that moment, I became cool.
Whether you’re looking for a way to make your job more relatable to friends and family or you’re really just looking for better ways to protect your data center, I highly recommend giving Deception Force a try. It’s your turn to be that person with the cool suit that battles monsters and saves the day.