You're not a nerd

HELLO BLOGOSPHERE how are you??? Long time no see! 7 months without a post. OK I confess – I’ve been trapped by the below 140 virus the last couple of months.

But it were 140 characters & some reactions that brought me here again. Finally.

So what’s the matter?

During the last year, I realized a lot of people claiming to be nerds. It seems to have became quite fashionable. Which is great! Erm… ok I should be feeling this is great, but – why am I feeling more & more grumpy about it?

It’s strange. It weird. It happened before. There are even songs about it. You just have to put the word ‘nerd’ in the lyrics & replace ‘skateboard’ with… wait I’ll just show you:

You’re not a nerd, so just stop tryin',

Your clothes are good but your brain is dyin'.

You’re an embarrassment to what we believe,

So take your ray bans and – leave.

That much for some heros of my youth. On to the present.

I recently stated a little rule in a tweet.

Please realize my eyes a-twinkle – but there’s some truth about it. It’s the old game – some subculture gets hip. Then the hipsters start their cruel jobs.

What’s really fascinating are the thoughts that evolved when I started to judge maliciously in my surrounding. True Nerd/Geek vs original Hipster.

First remarkable insight: that’s not a binary decision.

There are all kinds of truly nerdy people. That geek out big time. That do not code.

Second remarkable insight: managers, we all hate them.

No, that wasn’t the insight. What’s astonishing: there are two types of leading management people. The ones you as a nerd respect & like. And the ones that are just plain sucky annoying.

I call the former ‘meta nerd’. An expression I stole from my mate Hendric Rüsch. He isn’t a coder, but a business developer. He called his job “Metagelöt” – with ‘gelöt’ being a derogative way of describing the process of bringing software to life.

Now watch out for the third one: nerds make money, dude!

Which is great. Wel love what we do. And are mostly able to get paid quite well.

But watch out – vast parts of the labor force does it vice versa. They hate what they to. And are mostly unable to get paid quite well. In this context of the army of motivation 2.0 there is a growing number of companies who claim they are a nerdy agency, a geeky software company or a haxxor related start-up reactor.

If you read sth like that in a job description: check for keywords. We nerds may not be easy to categorize, but we all agree that waterfall leads to project delay which leads to unnecessary extra hours. And that agile is the way we want to work. Of course there are some exceptions – but you get the picture.

So watch out for keywords like “Account Manager” & “Experience with Gantt tools” before getting interested in that fancy job description. I should know, I’ve been having a harsh shower under the waterfalls of different enterprises for the last half decade.

On the bottom line there’s my picture of a nerd friendly work environment:

There are a couple of nerds & geeks. Who have some sort of 20% time agreement. With some meta nerds having a look after them & a vision in mind where the story goes to.

“OK, sounds great – what keywords do I have to look out for in the job description?” you may ask.

Easy answer: in the best case, your attention gets to the job because some friend tells you about it. Or a random maniac at the local rails user group catches your attention. Then you’ll test drive your potential employer with at least 2 days of daily business done together.

Yours truly, 5v3n – careers counselor.

Now let’s have a rough cut & got back to the initial observation: it’s fashionable to be a nerd. Which is quite cool. We had a lively discussion some months ago I really enjoyed that was focussed on the positive aspects.

And C.C. Colton’s famous expression “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery” was coined by a nerd himself as far as I can judge. I guess it is, but it’s also by far the most annoying form to express your admiration for a subject.

Let me finish these thought’s with another quote from a great thinker:

That’s all folks!

I’m happy to have finally managed to put my thoughts online again after all these months. I am more than curious about your reaction!

BTW: extra credits earned for recognizing the band & song I quoted the lyrics from!


Sven Kräuter | 5v3n