27 Sep You might work in a Midwest technology environment if…
CHICAGO – While we talk all the time about Midwest technology workplaces in this Nine2Five column, what really constitutes one?
Could you qualify as a Midwest tech employee if you work from home doing outside sales for a travel-industry CRM vendor? Yes, technically. After all, technology is so integrated into our daily work lives nowadays that even your tooth X-rays are online three seconds after the “bleep” noise from the machine is finished.
So how can you separate the wheat from the chaff – you know, a true dyed-in-the-wool techie environment from a plain-old technology-enabled workplace? Here is a helpful place to start.
First off, look around you. Would you call your surroundings a cube farm? If there are more than two bicycles in the copy room and a video of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” or something like it in the bathroom, you may work in a Midwest technology environment.
If there is a Dilbert cartoon taped to the wall somewhere within 10 feet of you, the Geiger counter is heating up and your workplace is sounding more and more like a true techie zone.
While this isn’t good or bad, let’s be honest here: Do you work in your own local Nerdistan? It’s OK if you do. It’s just good to know one way or the other. Here’s our quick and easy Nine2Five quiz that’s available to all ePrairie readers to gauge their own workplaces against our scale.
Count your total number of “yes” answers on the quiz below. No cheating!
- In your entire local workgroup, is the total number of Star Trek (all generations) memorabilia items on display more than 10? Give yourself an extra point for each three-dimensional Trekkie memento. While mouse pads don’t count as three-dimensional items, mugs, mobiles and bobble-head dolls do.
- Is there more than one chess grand master among your colleagues? Alternatively, if you have a workmate who has memorized the official airline guide, can multiply four-digit numbers in his head or likes to disassemble the copy machine and put it back together again to eliminate that little clicking noise, give yourself an extra point.
- Are Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net on your favorites list? Add a point if a Google search on your name turns up three or more returns based on your archived posts to techie list servs.
- Are the phrases “that’s random” (expressing disapproval) or “no comma, duh” in common use in your department?
- If neckties are required by your company dress code, might those neckties worn by your male co-workers include ties decorated with such wildly inappropriate-for-business characters as Patrick Starfish, Spider-Man and Larry the Cucumber from “Veggie Tales”? If so, would such inappropriate necktie choices indicate the wearer’s cluelessness in the area of fashion, a subtle dig at the company’s constricting obsession with conformity or neither? Add a point if you can’t tell.
- Does at least one co-worker have Lego Mindstorm software installed on his or her PC? Add a point if you or a co-worker has created a stop-action Lego movie on a PC during working hours.
- Do two or more of your co-workers have SETI screensavers running and donating unused processor time to help the search for extraterrestrial intelligence?
- Is the Linux penguin in evidence throughout your work environment? Add 10 points if one or more of your penguins is autographed by Linus Torvalds.
- Do you know what MUD or MUSH stands for?
- If you have a company football pool, is there at least one member of your team who has written a predictive model by which his or her bets are placed?
0-2 points: slide rule optional (Kinko’s is more technical than my workplace)
3-5 points: respectably geeky (we live by our own code)
6-8 points: geeks rule! (crank up the iTunes!)
9 or more points: ultimate geekatorium (the world bows down before us)
How did you do? If you answered “yes” to every question on the list, we want to hear from you as you may win the award for Nine2Five Midwest geek workplace for 2004. Write to us at email@example.com with details!
If you don’t know what MUD and MUSH stand for, by the way, here are a few answers gathered from online gaming Web sites: MUD is a multi-user dimension, multi-user dialogue or multi-user dungeon while MUSH is a multi-user shared hallucination
Liz Ryan is the founder of ChicWIT (Chicago Women in Technology) and founder of WorldWIT (World Women in Technology). She can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column Nine2Five, which appears on ePrairie every Friday, is designed to keep you up to date with career trends and advice related to working and managing organizations in the post-bubble technology world. This article has been syndicated on the Wisconsin Technology Network courtesy of ePrairie, a user-driven business and technology news community distributed via the Web, the wireless Web and free daily e-mail newsletters.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.