Fearing the Geeks
Septmber 1999

I have performed a little experiment over the past two years, and the results are quite chilling. Unless I have mis-read the data, the results prove that not just the general public is still scared silly of geeks, but even the computer industry is.

I performed this little experiment by looking for a job. Here's my background: BSEE from Clemson University, MSEE from Caltech, 6 years at NASA, 6 years running my own PC company, and then the last two years looking for work.

Every time I faxed or e-mailed my resume to the employers, it was rejected. I had to walk-in to a place to get a job, and only then by pretending to be more or less "regular" instead of a well-trained geek. So I decided two weeks ago that this time would be different: I would water down my accomplishments and try to disguise my qualifications to look more like a "regular guy." I did this by removing the three things I hypothesized were the most fearful for managers: my Caltech M.S., my years at NASA, and my years of self-employment.

So far, my hypothesis has been correct. After going for only a half-dozen interviews in 2 years, I suddenly have 4 interviews in less than 10 days. WOW!! Apparently there is something out there among the hiring managers, some kind of fear of smart people. If you look "too smart," you can't get in the door. This year Dell rejected me, despite hiring some 800 people or more; but that was the "real" full-spectrum resume I sent them.

Remember, people, this is supposed to be the "high-tech" industry -- this is supposed to be about BRAINS, about deep knowledge and intellect. If in *THIS* industry the managers are afraid of us smart people, what does that say about the rest of society? There apparently are a lot of people out there, even in the so-called technology fields, who are afraid to hire smart people. What a shameful situation -- even a crime.

Most recent revision: September 5, 1999
Copyright © 1999, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.

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