Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Not Welcome!

I have sailed for most of my life.  Through this wonderful sport I have literally travelled around the world to compete at events and met some of my very best friends from all walks of life and of all ages.  

Unfortunately, sailing still has an elitist reputation in some quarters.  Those who still hold this view should visit my home club – The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club – to see just how far from the truth this is (in fact, let me know when you are at either of the club houses in Cowes or Burnham-on-Crouch and if I am free I will happily buy you a drink or four and introduce you to some of my pals).  Every weekend sees parents giving up their time to encourage the thriving youth fleets and although there are some very wealthy members (funnily enough, none in recruitment) everyone mixes in a very casual atmosphere on the balcony on a summers evening – it is inclusive and all are welcome.  I like this attitude and actively refuse to attend any sailing event at a snotty club with ‘members only’ on the door.  

I mention this inclusiveness as very rarely for me I am in ‘Billy's Bar’ at Elland Road – home of the Mighty Leeds United (Billy’s Bar is in memory of the late, great Billy Bremner, sadly missed in both Leeds and Scotland)  as they prepare to destroy Hull City this evening – and  yet would rather be elsewhere. I adore being in Leeds so it could be a lot worse especially after our recent couple of startling victories.   

However, the point is that I want to be at the F3 conference with a lot of my friends in the computer forensics sector but I am not welcome.  My name isn’t Dave and I’m not getting in – although ironically it is, but I still am not getting in.....(dodgy 90’s music reference – apologies)!

For those of you not in the computer forensics sector, F3 (http://www.f3.org.uk) ‘exists to provide an open forum for all forensic computing practitioners, to enable them to share their collective knowledge through discussion and training’. I have tremendous respect for the numerous members of the committee whom I have known for years and the organisation no doubt does a great job for the members.  However, F3 have an annual conference which begins today where, as a recruiter, I am not welcome.  I pay to advertise in the brochure but I am not able to attend the conference as I am not a practitioner.  I have tried to argue the case in previous years that I wish to attend as I am a member of the community but I have had no success.

Yes, it is ‘members only’ and sadly I am as welcome as Phil Woolas at the christening of Ed Millibands newborn child.  

My colleagues here tell me to not get so irate about this as it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things and that there is no point in me attending anyway.  I think that misses the point: the reason I attend Infosec every year is that I am able to hear speakers discuss trends/issues and by understanding these points I am more informed and credible when I am discussing the industry with my network.  Ok, forget that worthy reason, I just want to spend a couple of nights in the bar with some of my friends!
As I see it: 
  • I am active on numerous forums where I think I am a part of the community who is able to actually contribute above the tedious recruiter level of purely posting current vacancies;
  • I lecture extensively to the computer forensics students at Universities;
  • I speak at events attended by experienced members of the computer forensics sector and so far, I don’t think there have been any complaints that I am bothering people (well, except for the unfortunate case involving a case of vodka, three packets of wine gums and the Russian gymnasts which we will skip over as that was a simple misunderstanding).     
But still, I am not welcome at the biggest UK computer forensics event of the year. Is this fair?

If you help run a club, community or forum of any description that bars people for no clear, valid reasons please do reconsider.  Some of the snotty ‘members only’ sailing clubs I have shunned in the past are now desperate for new members to ensure their survival but they have woken up to the new world order too late and the future isn’t bright.

Oh, and if you are at the F3 conference and sober enough to read this, do please have a beer for us recruiters stranded at the door....

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