Thanks to our own Tamara Hecht for noting a need for this post - and it's a chance for me to launch an experimental "Ask A Progeek" section (thinking of having it organized both for individuals and in general).
So it happened. You found your perfect job, or come to think of it in this economy, any job. Anyway, you look at the list of requirements, which almost inevitably is some kind of insane wish list, and you realize you don't meet them. Yet, you still want that job and indeed can do it.
What do you do?
First, let me put your mind at ease - if you think that that entire list has to be fulfilled perfectly, you're almost inevitably wrong. Except in the case of certain scientific, engineering, and legal requirements, you don't have to fill the list out perfectly. Chances are that list has been through so many hands no one actually cares that much.
Keeping that in mind, there's three things to do:
If you're a progeek of any kind, it's likely that your parents kind of were worried about your career goals - if they even understand them. If you were one of the people who had supportive parents who got your goals, you're quite fortunate - I think a changing world and economy makes the generation gaps worse at times.
So right now there's a lot of young future progeeks out there and maybe their parents need to know their children are on the right track, aren't going to starve, and can get some mentorship. It's time for them to see professional geekery in action so they're fine with their little geeks growing up to make money at what they love.
That, by the way, is where you come in. If you want to promote the fan-to-pro life, it's time to help out parents so they can guide their kids, not panic, or realize they may be doing things right.
Help out the next generation - by helping this generation see progeekery is a realistic goal and nothing to panic over.
Plus, if you have kids of your own,a chance you'll land some babysitting partners . . .
“Take chances, get messy, make mistakes.”
- Ms. Frizzle, “The Magic Schoolbus”
I’m one of those writers who gets really emotionally attached to their characters and settings. I don’t like to let anything go. As you can probably tell from these blog entries, I am also one of those writers who describes everything in far too many words. Editing is hard for me. However, it is a necessary step, as writing is just as much about pruning words as it is about cultivating them. Writing more than needs to be written merely ensures that there is a lot to choose from.
Anyone out there ever study design? Every assignment insists that you come up with a minimum of five different designs before you even take one of them to rough copy. I always thought that was a huge drag, but I have to admit, my fourth or fifth ideas tend to be way better than my first.
Therefore, everything you do, especially those creations that never see the light of day, are incredibly necessary. Nothing deleted is ever lost. Those preliminary designs maybe be invisible, but they are indispensable for getting you to the final draft. Your ultimate product is carrying on for all the drafts and false starts that came before it. It is enriched by all you learned in creating its predecessors, no matter how distantly they are related.
Your work place may be the geekiest thing ever or it may be so straight-laced people fear there's going to be an office comedy made of it. No matter what, it's a great place to form a geeky group - and a great way to support professional geekery.
Think of all the things you can do at work that bands people together for geeky interests, or just band geeks together. A gaming group, a group for programming arduinos, an anime viewing group, what have you. Why not found one - you and all your fellow employees may enjoy it.
It's also a great way to support professional geekery. Yes it may be fun and relaxing, but it's also a huge professional advantage:
There's really no downside as long as you do it right.
Let me tell you a story about . . . TV corporate logos. You know, those short little bursts of sight and sound at the end of a television show, telling you what studio produced them? Short, forgettable little things, right?
Wrong. From the '60s to the '90s, a bunch of TV logos were produced, and in wide circulation, that literally scared children. To this day, people tremble in fear at the memory of them. They were an example of something with good intentions that went horribly wrong.
They also provide a valuable lesson to all of us in the importance of knowing and catering to your target audience - say, for instance, a potential employer looking at your resume.
Want to help the world appreciate the fan-to-pro ideal, the geeky lifestyle? Try getting yourself in the news, and in a way that's not overtly embarrassing.
Help out reporters.
Recently in my viewings of various anime, I came across "Oh! Edo Rocket", a show that borders on the inexplicable, as it's an anime based on a play based on a legend that is loaded with parody elements. I vaguely described it as "Excel Saga with a continuing plot" but it's hard to explain it.
One theme touched on, especially later in the series, is that sometimes things can be inspiring but aren't necessarily "useful" or "even lasting." Sometimes big useless, even stupid stuff is indeed a good thing.
Big, giant, useless, crazy stuff can inspire people.
Stupid blatant nutty things can shock people out of complacency.
Huge insane efforts can help you explore your limits and yourself.
It can also be fun, and we usually need more of that.
The best way to promote pride and awareness of professional geeks? Well there's many debates that can be had, and I myself won't side with one way or another in order to encourage people. But one of the more effective, in my highly biased but doubtlessly right opinion, is to basically "flaunt it."
No I'm not talking about wearing a T-shirt reading "I am a professional geek, bow before me" unless that's your thing and you have a good design. I'm more talking about the fact that you go out of your way a bit to communicate you do what you love for a living and believe in it. Not shoving it in people's face, but keeping in mind there are chances to promote the ideal.
Some of them MAY involve the obnoxious t-shirt and the shoving it in people's face, but I'd like to keep those the exceptions.
It's important people see proud, happy, healthy progeeks. There's too much assumption you can't do what you love for a living. There's too many negative ideas of basement-dwelling obsessives being the closest thing to professional geeks (not that there's anything wrong with that if it's your thing). They need to see people who are progeeks.
They need to see you. You're an example, a role model, a testimony. Yes, I realize just how disturbing that is, but stick with me here.
Whenever people see functional (or at least functional enough) progeeks, even those who are just realizing their ambitions, they see that important idea manifest: you can do what you love for a living. You can be that.
Here's how you "flaunt it" without overdoing it. Unless you consider me to be overdoing it, to which I say "bow before my virtual t-shirt."
You are the testimony, the reminder, the example. Scary thought, but it's up to us to show people dreams are worth living, even if it's in ways you never expected.
There’s a quote by Douglas Adams that goes, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” I undertook this project to get a number of things done; namely, publish my book, make my cartoon show, and revive my company. However, behind all those tasks was one big giant goal, and that was to get my life started.