“The Nerd Couch – Self-Helpful tips for Nerds and Geeks Everywhere.”
Let’s admit it. Many of us nerds have feel out of place in the ‘normal’ world from time to time. People don’t always understand our eccentricities and peculiar appreciation of science fiction, or Comic collecting, or gaming worlds. Who can explain why we love technology and gadgets and don’t mind learning a computer program or two. For us, being in the wrong place with the wrong people can be dibilitating in a career or social way. But being in the right place, with the right people can bring our true talents out. Talents and qualities that we might not have even known we had. Being in the Right Environment is key to becoming a flourishing nerd.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT?
I was a computer tech at a university in Philadelphia Pa. for a number of years. I felt comfortable there, but I didn’t feel fully appreciated for who I was, just for the work I did. Besides working on computers, I was always trying to do something creative and people just weren’t into that sort of thing. Then a life changing decision got me a job at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Pratt is one of the premiere art schools on the east coast of the US. As I settled into the new job, I realized how much creativity surrounded me. There were students and teachers doing traditional and digital art, drawing and 3d modeling, even sculpture and jewelry. I knew I was at home when I started bringing in my fantasy art books and action figures into work and even the teachers admired them. Being at Pratt let me explore my creative and nerd side without feeling like a fish out of water.
It’s like in the movie John Carter (from Princess of Mars). Yeah, the Disney flop that actually made well over $200 Million world wide. Johnny-boy was seen as a nut, and a bit of a loser. But once he got to Mars, and not of his own volition mind you, he quickly was at home with the fighting and rescuing and leading comrades into battle. Like myself, falling into the job at Pratt, John Carter fell into an environment that allowed him to be his natural self.
FINDING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT?
But many times we don’t ‘fall’ into the right environment. Usually, we are stuck in jobs or life styles that don’t exactly fit who we are. But that is the first question you should be asking yourself anyway. Who am I? Or rather ‘What do I like to do and what kind of people do I like to be around? if you can start to realize what your likes and passions are, then you can start to find the right environment for yourself. Take an assessment of yourself (gifts, talents, skills, passions).
After that, find out where the people and places are that line up with your passions. It could be a job environment or a place of living. I remained a technician for years at Pratt, but the creative energy is what made the job enjoyable. I didn’t have to become an official artist necessarily to be happy. If you like numbers, but you love gaming, well game companies need accountants too.
Also, make sure you find your meetup groups and hangout spots. Do a little casual networking when your around your people. Be proactive in finding the right place for you to grow in the way you’re built.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT?
There are three positive things I feel happens when you find the Right Environment.
The number one thing is that you will feel energized. For me it was sharing ideas with peers an pupils at Pratt, and getting that positive feedback that got me going. Normally, I would just get the old ‘Haha, that is a crazy idea, you’re so crazy’.
Another positive effect of being in the right environment is that since you are being yourself and being accepted as yourself, people will appreciate and be attracted to you for you. You will probably make tighter friend relationships in the right place. There is a better chance you might find the right girl or guy that fits you perfectly. That fellow nerd you have always been looking for.
Lastly, if you’re in the right environment, especially if it’s work related, what you are good at will be recognized. You might even find that you have skills and talents that you didn’t get a chance to exercise in other places not conducive to your ‘uniqueness’.
Just like when you are at a Con or gaming with your friends, find the Right Environment for your work or living area, so you can be who you naturally are. There is a good book by Daniel Pink called “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need” that touches on this subject. It’s cool because it’s done in Manga form. You young geek brothers and sisters should check it out at a library or pick it up if you get a chance.