Master two words to advance your security career

"Don't screw up. When you do good, no one pays attention, but if you screw up, the weight of the world will be dropped on your shoulders."

I solemnly nodded my head in agreement and pledged I would not screw up. For the most part, I did okay. I didn't get much feedback, but since the weight of the world hadn't managed to crush me, I gathered I was okay.

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Then Friday afternoon, the partner of the project came to me with a special request. Turns out I discovered a minor security problem — and because I found it, I was tasked with fixing it. I worked all weekend to find the right solution and when the partner returned on Monday, he stopped by my cube, looked me in the eye and said, "good job."

As part of my reward, I was invited to a steak dinner. At dinner, I was thanked, again, for my effort. Without a doubt, I beamed. Next thing I knew, I was the "security guy" .

Being recognized with a sincere thank you, whether in public or private, feels good. It atones for long weekends, cross words and frustrations. Turns out that mastering two words, "thank you," is essential to a successful career in information security.