Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Can't I Talk About My Hobbies?

I've been thinking lately about how nerdy and geeky things have supposedly become really mainstream. While I believe attitudes of "the young people" are generally changing favorably toward acknowledging that traditionally-nerdy things can be not just fun but in fact cool, there's still a huge gap between the older folk (most people over 30 that I encounter) and these geek-loving/being teens and 20-somethings.

I say this because I don't work in IT. Nothing against IT people or folks who work in fields that are newer or dominated by young people, but you don't really now how good you have it. In my past job, there were exactly two people I felt even remotely comfortable "coming out to" about where I spent the second week of August every year. I couldn't even tell other people that I spent five days of vacation in Indy simply because my other coworkers knew Nascar isn't my thing. And honestly, between Nascar and Gencon, what else is there to do in Indy? Note: I know next to nothing about Indianapolis or the state of Indiana as a whole.

Now that I'm with my new employer (doing the same job as before, but with better pay and benefits: woo!), I have exactly zero coworkers that even know I enjoy going to see nerdy movies. These people don't even know that I don't give even a tiny bit of thought to professional sports (or really even college sports outside of my alma mater).

I'm actually a fairly confident and calm guy in real life. I feel comfortable in my interests, but still, as a professional in my field, I'm paranoid that the aging population of workers that make up most of my coworkers will just look at me, dumbfounded as they wonder where all that respect they had for me drips out of their ears as I explain how much I like to think about the history of Arda (not just Middle Earth mind you, but Valinor as well!).

I don't have much hope that I'll find someone in my current job that can relate to or even share my passion for all the things that match the tags for this blog. I doubt anyone would even understand why I spend any time at all writing a blog about gaming and nerd stuff. Still, I think there is hope for the future. The professional me of today who loves nerdy stuff is (God-willing!) the me of the future who is a supervisor for my employer who still loves nerdy stuff.

In the meantime, I'm probably going to be musing in the near future about what we can do to help others embrace their nerdy tendencies and mutate them into full-on geek obsessions. It is a good time to be a nerd, but we haven't reached our pinnacle, and it can only get better from here on out. When the Avengers and Game of Thrones are two of the hottest media properties out there, there's always hope for the future.


  1. Our geeky hobbies are nothing to be ashamed of. When people have "found me out" I just really don't react too terribly troubled like I did in my younger years. Now I work in the plants around rough and tough plant and construction workers but I have found a so what I don't give a f#$% what you think is the best approach for most of the coming out of the nerd closet situations. Really what are we ashamed of? Those mundanes not understanding or liking what we like? So what! They have a shallow life in my view. I shared wit a few people that I went to a local sci-fi con and just yesterday a few youngsters drove up in a truck and asked me if I had any star wars action figures and they all went laughing. Very coolly and comely I asked them what the F&^^ they had against star wars? I let them know that I did not give a F%^&&%^ what they thought. The rest of the workers standing around me though it was cool that I didn't care if the normals didn't like my nerd stuff and we started chatting about Star Wars and Star Trek. I could probably have them gaming if I felt like it.

  2. I can understand your POV on this. I'm fairly lucky, I work in an office with a variety of ages and most of the people around my age enjoy comics and geeky movies like I do, as well as sports which I don't. So I can be geeky on things like that but I do draw the line on RPGs. I haven't mentioned that I play those to anyone I work with and it's not out of shame, I love RPGs and if anyone asked, I would defend playing them vehemently. It's just that I don't see it as important if my colleagues know or not so I avoid the hassle of having to explain it.

  3. I've struggled with this and written about it in the past, too. At first, I was very much in the RPG closet among co-workers, but I later opened up about it and was unashamed of my hobbies. I haven't found new gaming buddies at work or anything like that, but I haven't had problems, either.

    I work in a fairly high-ranking job in a large financial corporation, for what it's worth.

  4. I guess my off-the-cuff response to the situation is...what's holding you back? There's no shame in gaming, no crime or negativity in going to a mega-con like GenCon. Why hide it?

    I found myself in your very situation a few years ago, when I started a new teaching job. However, just as I started teaching in this district, I also began freelancing for Cubicle 7. When I first got brought aboard, I shared my news with my fellow teachers and admins--most of whom are old enough to be my parents.

    While they were somewhat confused at first--most didn't know much about gaming at all, which is fine--they quickly became interested and engaged. My principal regularly asks me "when's the next book coming out?" and my colleagues can even carry on a conversation about some of the setting stuff I've worked on.

    It's just a matter of taking ownership of your hobby as a part of yourself. Take pride in the fact that you have this blog, and that you sling dice with the best of them. If they don't understand it, but are interested, explain it to them. At the very least, it becomes a point of conversation.

    While it might seem intimidating, the only barrier is the one that you, yourself create.


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