No matter what your chosen career path society places constraints on what is an acceptable amount of interest you are allowed to show to a subject before you become *weird*. People working in IT face this more than most. In my life I have known a lot of really smart people,who are obviously in love with what they are doing, not sharing their excitement with others for fear of being thought of as uncool. However crazy this sounds from the outside one thing is true; they are holding themselves back from success.
As a programmer and someone who enjoys a good console game now and then, many times throughout my life have felt the need to keep my passions a secret. Up until very recently playing video games was considered pretty geeky among the people I grew up with. When I first fell in love with Programming I first kept it on the down low before making it my career for fear of non-acceptance.
This is pretty normal behaviour; being a kid, it seems pretty normal at the time to try and appear cool.
What I believe isn’t normal is carrying this on into adulthood. After you’ve chosen IT as a career.
It took me a while to come around to it, but after school I soon realised that in order to be the best I could be in my career, I needed to embrace my inner Nerd.
And since then it’s really helped me in my career.
I still experience a number of friends and colleagues going through the same thing though. The difference is they haven’t embraced their career fully and aren’t sharing their excitement or addiction to things – whether it be programming, gaming, collecting [something that no one collects] or anything else they deem socially less-cool.
This makes me sad to see. I can see that If they would just get past caring what others thought and embrace it, they would go so far.
Whether you do what you love for a living, or just in your spare time, the one piece of advice I can give you for success is to Dive Right In!
Fully immerse yourself in whatever you’re passionate about. In my case it’s programming, and the web.
Therefore I’ve made the call that:
If something new comes out that excites me I’ll jump straight on it.
If there are user groups in my area: I’ll attend them.
If there are conferences in my area: I’ll go along; and invite colleagues – because there is one thing you can do to break through to anyone who hasn’t embraced it, and that is show them it is acceptable.
So I invite you to join me and stop holding yourself back: Embrace your inner Nerd!