A Personal Update – Better Late Than Never

I haven't published a post in just over a month now, so I wanted to share a quick personal update.

Personal Update - Introduction

I used to make these posts when I had something going on, but couldn't quite finish a technical post in time. That said, I've been consistently posting only technical posts for awhile, so haven't really posted many updates at all.

That said, I've fallen a bit behind in my blogging (on purpose), and just wanted to post a quick update here. Plus, it's my blog, and I can do whatever I want!

Personal Update - Supervisor

Work

Work has still been enjoyable, although I've clearly been burnt out. That said, I work with an amazing team, and get some awesome opportunities from time to time.

I've been on a lot of project types that I haven't enjoyed, as well as faced some non-technical challenges this year. That said, it's all been for the better, and I'm constantly improving as a hacker, consultant, and leader.

I haven't been to as many cons this year, but that is just out of choice. I'm still looking to spend the rest of my training budget, so let me know if you see anything that I might enjoy.

There are a few tips, tricks, scripts, and vulnerabilities to come out of my few cool technical engagements though. Stay on the lookout for those once I have the time!

Travel

I've traveled quite a bit this year, but haven't really shared much about that.

  • January - January brought me to San Francisco for the first time, for a web assessment. The weather wasn't great out there, but I did get to go on a boat tour of the bridges and bay.
  • February - In February, it was back up to Boston and the surrounding area. This was for a wireless assessment of 8 different sites. The weather was horrid, and there was a lot of driving, but it was still a fun trip.
  • March - I went back to Austin in March, for a continuation of February's wireless testing. The weather was awesome, and I managed to get to Torchy's twice in one week!
  • April - My "on-site" assessment in April was within driving distance, so it doesn't really count. That said, it was another wireless on-site, and I went down to Greenville, SC once it was over.
  • May - In May, I spent 11 days in Montreal for NorthSec and some training. Stay tuned for the longer post on that trip!
  • June - My first trip of June was a 6-day bachelor party for one of my best friends in the NC mountains. There was plenty of eating, drinking, movies, and fun had by all.
  • June - Finally, my second trip of June was near Nashville, TN for an internal/malicious insider assessment.

I also ate (and worked out) plenty at all of these places, but that's a conversation for another time.

In addition to these, I also made a few trips to Greenville, SC, to visit some friends and dogs!

Personal Update - Doggos

Travel has always been something that I've enjoyed, so this has definitely helped with the burnout and personal issues.

Research/Posts

While I haven't actually published anything, that doesn't mean that I haven't been doing any research or posts in my spare time.

Similar to other posts like this, I'll just leave an unsorted list of topics that I've been working on or almost finished. Note that some of these posts might be dated before this one, but I haven't quite posted them yet!

  • IKE Aggressive Mode
  • My first CVE! (That I helped with)
  • A few more web disclosures
  • Potentially a binary disclosure
  • More XSS posts
  • NorthSec
  • My OSCE Exam/Review Post
  • More Exploit Development (including Vulnserver)
  • Tools and Scripts (maybe even some of my own)

Other than that, I've been trying to get my fuzz "farm" running again, but have been distracted. A coworker of mine recently dropped a few vulnerabilities though, and has been motivating me to get back into it.

I also submitted a topic to a few CFPs this year, but haven't been accepted by any yet.

Personal Life/Mental Health

Obviously, work burn-out only compounded my need for a break, but my personal life was also contributing.

There are still plenty of things going on that I will not discuss here, but it's all getting better. That said, make sure to take a step back if you should, and focus on what's important. I know that I was trapped in a vicious cycle of everything making everything a little worse for a bit there.

I won't go into details here, but I'm always glad to talk over PMs or beer. That said, I thank my friends (both in person and on the internet) for being there and making sure I didn't go completely crazy.

I'm also planning on a real, and longer vacation soon, so hopefully I can figure out when and where!

Personal Update - Conclusion

This was a longer, non-technical post, but thank you if you actually read it.

I'm doing alright, and will definitely be catching up on the posts soon. That said, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about things here, on my blog, or the field in general. It always feels good to help people out or know that I motivated them in some way!

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doyler
Ray Doyle is an avid pentester/security enthusiast/beer connoisseur who has worked in IT for almost 16 years now. From building machines and the software on them, to breaking into them and tearing it all down; he's done it all. To show for it, he has obtained an OSCE, OSCP, eCPPT, GXPN, eWPT, eWPTX, SLAE, eMAPT, Security+, ICAgile CP, ITIL v3 Foundation, and even a sabermetrics certification!

He currently serves as a Senior Staff Adversarial Engineer for Avalara, and his previous position was a Principal Penetration Testing Consultant for Secureworks.

When he's not figuring out what cert to get next or side project to work on, he enjoys playing video games, traveling, and watching sports.

Common passed on this blog, I made it to a jam.

4 Comments

Filed under Security Not Included

4 Responses to A Personal Update – Better Late Than Never

  1. Chris

    Thanks Ray. I’m presently in the midst of burnout myself. It was comforting for me to see someone else talking about it too. Thank you.
    I did my OSCP last year and presently studying my CISSP – I am torn at this point as I feel CISSP is what employers are often looking for but while I am putting my limited time (small kids at home, etc) in to theoretical studies like CISSP, I could be extending my hands on skills. Instead my hands on skills are waning which only exacerbates the situation… I actually took all my leave which did provide some respite. It didn’t take long for the burnout to kick in again since nothing actually changed in the day to day. I am working on getting some personal time to interact with people – getting to the pub, indoor cricket. This helps. I’d suggest perhaps consider post vacation if you can make some sort of a small change to get some disconnect from the day to day. Good Luck!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Definitely, and I’m glad it helps to see that someone else is going through it as well!

      It depends on what you want to do with your career really. The CISSP is great, but definitely not necessary for any hands-on/technical roles. That said, for managerial or similar roles, it’s definitely an HR requirement at a lot of places.

      It’s good that you took your leave at least, and I’m looking to take a really long vacation sometimes soon. Definitely, I’ve got some interpersonal activities, but adding more could never hurt!

      Thanks, and good luck to you as well.

  2. ericmm

    You should take a break and travel around South East Asia to relax your mind & soul

    • Thanks! I’ve got to spend a little bit of time in SE Asia (Singapore as well as Hong Kong/Vietnam/Philippines), but I’m thinking a nice long trip back to Europe might be in the cards! SE Asia is another option though, and a good idea.

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