It’s no surprise that some stereotypes are accurate and that what makes them funny sometimes. Just close your eyes and think of the social label “nerd.” What do you think of? Some people might think of a guy with greasy hair, a dirty shirt, and has no idea how to talk to women. While I’ve matched this stereotype during some phases in my life, if you met me on the street today, I would like to think you wouldn’t automatically assume I worked with computers for a living. I’m 6’2″, muscular and I know how to talk to another human being about other things besides video games and computers. Let me go a little into my background.
My first encounter with computers was when I was in third grade, every week my Dad and I would go over to my grandparent’s house for dinner. Now to some kids, this might be boring, but my grandfather was not your stereotypical grandfather he was very very into computers. So my time spent socializing with my grandfather was mostly spent playing computer games or him standing over my shoulder teaching me DOS command codes, and how windows folder structure works, it was the foundation of computer knowledge today. I’m going, to be honest with you though, it didn’t stick. Since my grandfather and father were both heavily into PC’s I never really had to solve PC problems or worry about fixing a computer until I was out on my own.
Let’s fast forward to my young adult life, I’m married to a beautiful woman, I have a brand new baby girl, a mortgage payment, and a kick-ass gaming PC ah life is good. The one thing didn’t have however was a job, you see at that time the construction industry was going through a rough patch and what I thought was a stable remodeling job wasn’t so much after all, and I found myself laid off, and without a job. I was devastated, I couldn’t find another reliable job in construction and I the skills I obtained in college was not applicable to me finding a job(maybe I’ll explain another time). I put all my eggs in one basket and was struggling to plan my next career move. Then it hit me! Computers! I’ve always been passionate about computers and had a good foundation knowledge about building and maintaining PC’s all I had to do is get in front of a potential employer so that I could relay my knowledge directly since I had nothing computer related to put on my resume. I did it though, I got in front of what is now my boss and close friend and convinced him I knew a thing or two about PCs.
Fast forward a few more years, and I’m the manager of a computer repair shop that manages networks and support for hundreds of businesses in my area. I honestly am grateful that I have the opportunity to make a living doing what I love. Just this last week, however, I got off the phone with a truly horrific customer. The whole time they were talking down, and verbally assaulting me because Microsoft changed a feature in one of their programs and apparently this is all my fault. Because naturally, they must be smarter than me, their Ph.D. says so. If they yell at me enough Ill eventually go, “Okay let me just reprogram this for you.” Throughout the whole conversation, I somehow managed to stay calm and collected. I chalked it up to that person just having a bad day. Still, the situation left me pissed off, and I had to go on a short walk to calm myself down.
The reason I’m writing this today is people, judge other people based on surface values. I still see people judging me and my fellow nerd brethren like all we know are computers and video games. When in reality I can swing a hammer with the best of them. I want people to understand that just because I’m helping you over the phone with a computer problem, it doesn’t mean I’m some scrawny nerd you can talk down too, because I guarantee if you were talking to me face to face you would choose your words differently. Everyone should keep this in mind throughout there day; people aren’t always what they seem. That middle-aged skateboarder you saw downtown might be a brilliant engineer blowing off steam. Or that woman working in fast food may be a law graduate that decided that she wants to do something else with her life. I hope people read this and it helps people see that what we see on the surface isn’t always the case. We are all people and should treat each other as such.