The Professional Advantage of fun – relating

Earlier I'd praised the importance of fun, even dumb fun.  But I'd like to go one bit further for us progeeks – fun has not just an inspirational or recreational advantage, or an intense skill/life building source – it can be useful on the job directly because it helps you relate to people.

I work in IT, and have since 1995.  I am old-school, hardcore IT geek turned manager.  My hobbies have proven invaluable on the job.

We all need to be able to relate to people, and I dealt with a lot of geeks – still do in fact.  Having similar hobbies proved invaluable.  In short, the fact I can recognize Halo action figures and characters from Naruto is a great way to build rapport.

Geekery is a great way to get to know people.

  • It shows that you have similar interests.  It bridges gaps between people.
  • It shows you're like other people – they can relate to you.
  • It shows you have a life outside of work (which may sound odd in geeky jobs, but there you go).
  • It gives you a way to socialize with people outside of work, and build deep relations with them.
  • It gives you a way to recreate with people you work with, to blow off stream, and relax.

So yes, that fun you have has other uses besides the skill-building or recreation and such I talk about.  It lets you relate to people and helps you connect with them, and that's important no matter what your job is – and important as a person.

– Steven Savage

EDIT: I made a mistake and put down my IT career as starting in 2005.  It actually started in 1995.