I'm a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks  Image: Dakster Sullivan

Confessions of a Lonely Geek

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I'm a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks  Image: Dakster Sullivan
I’m a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks Image: Dakster Sullivan

Most of my life I’ve been the only geek among those I see everyday. As a child, I was usually the only girl in boy-dominated courses and as an adult I’m the only female in my department. I’m also the only geek at my workplace. All of this can make for some lonely days.

The only daughter of three kids (and the middle child at that), I’m the only geek in our family of five. Before I was in high school, I received my first laptop for Christmas and I took it everywhere (even the grocery store). I saved up my allowance for a printer and scanner and eventually my parents bought me a tower PC with a flat screen monitor. When something computer-like broke in my house, I was the one they called to fix it.

At school I was one of two girls in my HTML and PC troubleshooting courses. The guys never seemed to mind and I really enjoyed learning. I experienced the same thing in college when I was going for my Associates of Science in Computer Engineering degree. In my three years in college, I only had another female in my class three times.

Now, in the workplace, I’m again the only person interested in what I do and the hobbies I enjoy. It can be pretty lonely not having anyone to talk to about comics, movies, and the latest in computer tech. My little brother works with me and I’m slowly converting him in to a geek, but it’s a work in progress.

I’m lucky enough to have a nice office with a door that I can decorate anyway I like. This is where I show my passion for the geek world. I have everything from 501st Legion pictures to comic books to Disney lithographs up on my walls. I also have a collection of Hot Wheels Batmobiles on my desk and a small Blue Lantern replica in front of my pencil holder (I really want the larger replica coming out in November).

I’ve been told my office is the coolest in the company, because of all my toys and pictures on the walls. Some people come in and just look around to see what I have on display. They think my costumes are cool, but have no idea who I’m dressed up as. My comic books get some attention too, but again, they don’t usually know who the characters are on the cover. It blows me away that anyone wouldn’t know who the Green Lantern is.

When someone asks me questions about what they see in my office, I have a glimmer of hope that they might understand what I say and be my geek office buddy. Alas, it usually ends with them saying “cool” and walking out.

Most of the people in my office are into things like drinking (I don’t drink), sports (unless it’s ice hockey, I’m not interested), or fishing and hunting (yuck on both accounts). This basically means I have nothing in common with any of my co-workers. There are two guys I work with who understand Star Wars, but that’s the extent of their geeky knowledge.

Going to lunch with a few of my fellow female coworkers the other day made me realize just how alone in the office I really am. They were talking about a doctor on TV and at first I thought “Doctor Who? Finally…something I can throw in my two cents about.” Then I remembered who was talking and after a few minutes of listening further, realized they were talking about someone by the name of Doctor Oz. Bummer. In one hour at lunch with these four women, I had hardly anything to say about the topics they discussed.

I’d love to see even just one geek hired to give me someone to talk to. I don’t care if they speak English or Klingon…there are translators for that.

I’m thankful for the geek friends I have outside of work and I love each of them for their quirks and interests. Now if only I could get one of them hired where I work so I could have someone to take over the world with…

For now, I keep my sanity by always having a geeky movie on my iPod, comic books on my shelf, and enough pictures on my wall to satisfy my daydreaming. Maybe one day I will have an office geek buddy, but for now, I’m a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks.

Do you suffer from being a lonely geek? Tell us your stories in the comments.

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6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Lonely Geek

  1. I am lucky enough to work for an engineering company–we’re all geeks here. But I’m also a woman in computers (software engineer), so I’m usually the only female around (I’ve worked with other female programmers on exactly 3 projects in 15 years). And I think I confuse some of my male coworkers–I can talk Star Trek and Game of Thrones and D&D with the geekiest of them. But I also like to be girl-y–I’m blonde and wear pink (and tend to find pink cases/skins/covers for my assortment of techy-gadgets).My cube is decorated with pictures of and by my kids.

    Social gatherings tend to be odd, especially ones that involve either my or my husband’s coworkers (hubby is also a software engineer). I end up being the only woman talking to all the men while their wives give me evil looks. But I have more in common with the men than I do with the wives for the same reason you felt lonely with your female coworkers.

    As a hobby, I write fiction–sci fi/fantasy and romance. I have a lot of writer-friends, mainly romance writers. And the majority of them are women who are stay-at-home moms when they aren’t writing, or they have part-time jobs but treat the writing as their real career. So we have writing in common, but I tend to feel like the only insane one who is juggling a second career plus kids plus the books.

    I enjoy being me, but sometimes it would be nice to have someone else around who understands a little of all of the different facets of my life and doesn’t just ignore the parts they find wierd.

    1. I echo Mike Rex’s sentiment. I graduated high school in 1989 and back then I really into electronics and saved my money from summer jobs to buy a TRS-80 Color Computer and later a Tandy 1000 (IBM PC Clone). Everything was command-line and you had to program your own BASIC code, and I will never forget my first 300 baud modem!

      Mike is right, a geek back in the 80’s had all the stereotypes of weird, strange, and awkward. We definitely had sense that we didn’t fit in with any other click out there and I didn’t really participate in school, not that I considered myself anti-social; just could not talk to anybody about what I was into.

      However, I am now a Computer Scientist for the DoD; and I am glad to see that geek culture grew so vast to present day. I have been married 21 years now to a fabric arts geek 🙂

      A note to the author Dakster, I had exactly three women in my undergraduate Computer Science program; one I still keep in contact with (she’s married with kids) and let me tell you: there are not many women in computer science but the ones that are there are AWESOME! I partnered with her on a a few projects and women are much better abstract thinkers than men are. The other two girls were heavy into graphics (not my strong suit) but were very good at what they did. Although the girl I worked with in question did not choose to pursue a career in IT or Computer Science, rather she is now a director of HR. I have seen this with other ladies who start out in technical fields, most don’t often stay, although they are usually good at it. I think women just like to pursue what matters most to their lives, and men like to pursue their hobbies. Just my $0.02

  2. This is an interesting article, and I feel your pain. Many of us who grew up in the 80s will know exactly how you feel. At least you live in a time when your interests are tolerated. Before the big geek explosion of the last 10/15 years, people like us were treated pretty badly. In fact, there was a time, a very dark time, when many of us hid our interests if we wanted to fit in at all. Things are good now!

  3. I, too, am a lonely geek.

    I work in a stuffy office full of advertising and marketing moguls. The one geek I had the pleasure of sharing conversations with left for greener pastures and while I’m happy for him, I have no one to talk with here at work about all things geek. People always tell me they like my Superman lunchbox, or the hand sanitizer I adorned with a Superman sticker. My desk (while cluttered with pictures of my kids) has a few modest geeky nick-knacks laying about.

    In my personal circles, I have friends who refer to me as a personal resource for superhero movies or references they read online that they don’t get. I get asked comic book questions and I always hope they mean to start reading, but that’s never the case. That’s why I started my blog, because I’m a lonely geek (although I use the term ‘nerd’ which is obviously a synonym). I needed an outlet to speak ‘geek’ to the internet land of nerdvana.

    We nerds and geeks need to stick together and reach out across the inter-webs to keep our society strong. Someday I hope to find a geek or nerd close to me so I can share my love with them in person.

  4. What I’ve found is that there are more geeks than I expected in my workplace, but since the workplace itself is non-geeky, we are mostly “in the closet” – the guy who had his comic-book figurine collection on open display was regarded as something of a weirdo for it.

    Alas. I do, at least, have non-work geek friends.

  5. I am pretty lonely at work – everyone at my job talks about reality tv (the really crappy shows) or shopping. Anytime I bring up The Walking Dead, Nerdist, or an interesting podcast or article I read I get this weird look of “what?”

    I usually can only talk to my husband about things I’m interested in

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