Venturing into the outside world can be overwhelming for a geek. However, with the proper guidance, any geek can learn the language and customs of Ordinary People in order to function, flourish and possibly even get some. So get up off the couch. Go beyond the front door! My name is Faye. I’m a fellow geek and I’m here to help you.
Not all geeks are fortunate enough to have broken into the glamorous, high-paying worlds of comic book shop clerking or movie theatre ushering. Many modern geeks are forced into the corporate world to hold a “day job,” a job which pays the bills in order to facilitate outside habits and hobbies. Whether hourly or salaried, these jobs are usually considered by the geek holding them to be temporary. However, these offices tend to be populated by a strange and terrifying breed: people who actually want to be there. Your specialized brand of knowledge can be refreshing to them at first, but they will turn on you if they feel confused or threatened.
So, until that screenplay you’ve been writing sells or you finally pay off the credit card you used to buy that Jessica Meade prototype action figure, here are some tips on how to function as a geek within a Corporate Office.
People you will meet:
Long-Suffering Administrative Staff. Hardened by years of being someone’s bitch, their matching separates belie a hard shell of inappropriate snark. For a truly uncomfortable time, spark up an after-work conversation over a Lemon Drop. Ask them about their divorce.
The I.T. Department. This department can range from frat boys with computer science degrees to kindred spirits who name corporate copy machines after Transformers. Don’t get too attached. Due to a high level of marketable skills, its members are often leaving for better jobs at companies that don’t suck so much.
“Try shutting it down and restarting it.”
Managers. You will have to deal with at least one of these during your tenure, but more likely 10 or 12. They range in shape and size but are usually the settled-down type.
Upper Management. These elite individuals are always in a meeting. While they are in fact mortals, for the amount of contact you will have with them, they may as well be in a giant white photography studio in a pocket dimension.
Acceptable topics for conversation:
Children. Many people in your office will probably have children and are always willing to talk about them if you have between 10 minutes and an hour to spare. New babies may even visit the office. Their feet are tiny and even their farts are considered adorable. Be wary of co-workers with teenagers, however. Every single teenager spawned by an office worker is either totally amazing at everything or falling in with a bad crowd.
Pets. If discussing human spawn is not your cup of ambrosia, try domesticated animals. Most co-workers will have one, either as a pre-child or an empty nest refill. Research some of the more popular dog breeds so you can identify them on various breed-themed wall calendars.
Golden Retriever: Very Popular
Office Space. Everyone working in an office loves to mention and/or misquote this film. Before you chime in by reciting the entire film verbatim, remember that most of them will have only just seen it for the first time. Be gentle.
Advantages of being an office geek:
Guilty Pleasures are OK. In a corporate office, the bar for what is considered deviant culture is set at about carpet level. In this magical fairyland, SpongeBob is the height of cleverness. If you secretly find enjoyment in something that would garner you ridicule in your real life, now is the time to indulge.
Minimum Effort. Whether it be making a short film or carrying a Muppet Babies lunchbox, anything you do outside the business casual norm will be considered a monument to brilliance in an office. Take care to avoid critical mass. Too much of any one thing will raise managerial eyebrows, which are the worst kind of eyebrows.
“We need to talk about your mini posters…”
An office job can seem treacherous for a geek, full of strange smells and innate blandness. But by utilizing the cunning and natural charm all geeks possess, the staple-riddled wilderness can be conquered. Or you can just hide in your cube all day, what do I care? I have to get back to work.
For any questions, suggestions, feedback, or guidance in any part of non-geek culture, please email Faye at GeeksInPublic@gmail.com