Vocabulary and Professional Geekery

Vocabulary And Professional Geekery

Ah, the age of Geek Chic.  People are talking wireless and LOLCats, all our base does belong to someone, everything is 20% cooler, and bandwidth is something we all complain about.  Our language is hip, people, and we're cutting-edge.

When we go on the job search, we're even armed with the culture, memeage, and vocabulary to impress people with our geeky cred.  We're ready to go and impress clients and employers with the right phrases and references.

The only problem is that, even in an age of Geek Chic, you have to check your vocabulary:

  1. Your audience might be behind the curve, and what would impress some may just confuse or annoy them.  You might have to back your geek vocab back a few years in interviews – or drop it or translate it.
  2. Your interviewers or clients may be hip and up to date – in a different area of knowledge.  You might find that you're both up to date- and living in different worlds.
  3. Your interviewer may actually be ahead of the game.  Think you're up to date?  Think again.

It's easy to think people think like us or use the same language and culture references.  It's easy to miss the many ways we can be wrong about this; or we only see one or two ways we can be in error.

So if you're going to leverage your Geek Chic – and you're going to, I'm sure, consciously or not – ask yourself about your audience and think ahead.  You'll communicate better and avoid embarrassment – and leverage what makes you special: being a fan, geek, otaku, an enthusiast.

Steven Savage