You Know You’re a Geek When….


A Geek hat like this comes in handy in those cold server rooms.

It was pointed out to me recently that I am a geek. Of course this was something I already knew. And I’m okay with that. “Hi, My name is Thom and I’m a geek.” But I like to think of myself as a geek that is at least marginally socially aware as well being somewhat self-aware. No doubt, my friends and family can offer differing opinions on this topic.

The work Geek has evolved over time and I’ll spare you the evolution of the word, but suffice it to say where Geek was once a pejorative term, it has since been mostly reclaimed and repurposed.  And is now often used to self-identify by Geeks themselves or even as a sly compliment. I’m sure there are some people who still use Geek derisively – but as the saying goes what comes around goes around.  Karma has a way of balancing things out especially when those people have computer problems….

As a self-identified Geek, I think being a geek is actually a good thing especially as more and more of the economy relies on technology to function. And by Geek I mean someone who has a level of knowledge about a subject that far surpasses the general population, it doesn’t have to be a technical subject per se. So you can be Computer Geek, but you can also be a Photography Geek, a Finance geek, a Gardening Geek, or a Wine Geek, or you can fill-in the blank for whatever subject you want to geek about.

In fact I’ve put together a list of 10 tell-tale signs that signify technology Geekhood. I’ve also confessed my innocence or guilt of each.

  1. You know you’re a geek when you get more excited about attending a meeting with Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates or Steve Balmer than you do about meeting Tom Brady or Jonathan Papelbon. Guilty.
  2. You know you’re a geek when you buy the newspaper solely to look at the weekly Best Buy or Fry’s ad insert. Innocent, but only because I always read the paper.
  3. You know you’re a geek when realize that there are more empty pizza boxes in your office than there are employees in your office. Innocent.
  4. You know you’re a geek when you watch the movie War Games and reminisce about 300 baud modems. For that matter you know you are a geek if you know what a baud or a modem is at all. Guilty.
  5. You know you are a geek if you can do arithmetic in binary or hexadecimal. Guilty.
  6. You know you are a geek when you can have an entire conversations entirely in acronyms – The  IPSec SSL tunnel isn’t stable because DNS…..Guilty.
  7. You know you’re a geek if you’ve ever schlepped your laptop on vacation to a 3rd world country and spent time every day looking for an internet connection instead of relaxing on the beach. Guilty.
  8. You know you’re a geek when your bookshelves groan under books devoted to your topic of choice. Guilty.
  9. You know you’re a geek when half of what you wear or carry has a logo on it – especially if it is from multiple vendors. Extra Geek style points are given if the product or company no longer exists. Innocent now, but previously guilty.
  10. You know you’re a geek if you have more computers than people who live in your house. Guilty.

If you nodded knowingly to more than three of these – congratulations you are a technology geek. Since I exhibit 7 of these tell-tale signs, it’s confirmed I’m a hopeless technology Geek.

I’m okay with embracing my Geekhood because professionally it has been a good thing for me. I’m now working for a Geek’s dream employer – Microsoft. And as you might imagine Microsoft is a Geek paradise, although since I’m not a software developer, in the geek hierarchy I’m now so low on the Geek totem pole, that I’m not sure I qualify any more.

So where do you fall in the Geek hierarchy? What telltale signs of Geekhood did I miss? Am I off-base? Comments and feedback are always welcome. -t

Disclaimer: to be clear this post, as is my entire blog, is my own personal effort and is not endorsed or edited in any way by Microsoft.

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