Coming directly from our class text, a geek is most intricately defined as an expert or enthusiast in an analytical field such as computers or engineering. With your average American childhood under your belt, you are probably wired to associate the term geek with a negative connotation. Regardless of your experiences we all are left with the decision to geek or not to geek.
Personally, I chose to break away from the textbook geek lifestyle when I was a introverted 5th grade lad. My daily routine included a tucked in shirt, pocket protector, a do-diligence to accomplish my school tasks, and a lamination card of fun facts I would try to memorize. That routine was altered when we add it the element of our antagonist. His name was Chiquita and he stood about 2 feet taller and 2 feet wider than all the other 5th graders. Chiquita would show no remorse for a pocket protecting, fact quoting lad like myself. I was the unlucky victim of numerous swirlies, wedgies, and bush pushes in those days which ultimately led to a change of lifestyle in middle school. After a year that I was certain would never end, I had made the decision that I would change a few things. I joined the football team, untucked my shirt from my trousers, and decided to do away with the external geek of Will Plachta. In my best Bruce Wayne attempt to live a double life, I was trying to escape the widespread scrutiny of “the geek” and soak in the celebratory experience of an athlete. This would eventually lead to the starvation of my internal geek and the end result was an athletic façade that painted over who I was before Chiquita.
Years down the road, I am now granted the opportunity to take this course in order to bring a bit of relevance to my past. Our textbook states that we must find ways to make our differences more understandable. When we do this we are able to locate common ground with others off the basis of hopes, dreams, and fears. Sadly, that realization hadn’t presented itself to the 5th grade geek of old. Chiquita and I could have had a more meaningful experience together if we would’ve taken the time to understand each other and grow together.
The most important topic noted in the first chapter was channeling the knowledge of you and your colleagues differences and channeling them as a leadership tool. As a business leader, it is important that you understand the people you work with on much more than a nominal basis. Diving into a person’s intricate personality can yield better results during times of collaboration. The ability to do this is better known as personal intelligence. A psychologist for the University of New Hampshire by the name of John D. Mayer was first to coin the term. Mayer urges that if we can understand our own personalities, decision making tendencies, and the motivation behind it all, we can then have a better feel of others and their personalities. The development of these relationships hinge on how transparent the manger can be. By being vulnerable with each other, a relationship can foster trust and understanding for both parties. When you collaborate with someone you trust and understand, working through daily work obstacles are less likely to be hindered by difference in personality. Managing geeks can also result in you having to switch up your management methods. Most importantly, you want to provide the geek employee with their desirable working environment. This pushes them to be free thinking and comfortable.
In conclusion, to geek or not to geek is a decision everyone will eventually face. This choice is one that we all have to make on the basis of our own personality, experiences, and motivations. I have chosen to channel an inner geek in academic or professional situations while preserving the athletic façade I painted years ago. One thing I pray you walk away with is an awareness of others personalities. Branching out and meeting people where they are, geek or not, will reveal who they are and what they have to offer.