Certain words, when mass communicated, evoke very distinct reactions. Such is the case with saying “Geek” in Nashville. I’m not sure when this occurred, but very recently I realized it while having an in depth conversation about growing genetically engineered meat in a lab that may or may not take the shape of a sphere. In the middle of this conversation, the topic was briefly changed to Erector Sets (the metal kind, not the dumb plastic ones) and robot gorillas before going back to Lab-grown meat again.
It happened at the Geek Social, a monthly gathering of folks in Nashville who happen to enjoy the same areas of interest. The dialog is a lot like what was described in the paragraph above, but of course also floats into more serious topics of discussion like employment.
“Usually I don’t stop like this to say something — we just let it flow naturally,” said Firefly Logic founding partner Chris McPherson at this month’s meetup. He’s routinely one of the first people to show up at the increasingly packed Sam’s Bar in Hillsboro Village where the Geek Social is held. “We’ve got a lot of friends who are out of work and also lots of friends who need work done so we’re trying something new.”
Chris points to the back of the Mafia-esque “secret room” where a plain, mid-sized cork board leans against the wall. He and all the folks at Firefly Logic had a pretty simple rationale for setting it up: Help people who are friends and who are not yet friends.
Obviously it’s also about helping people get a job if they need one, but if that’s all it was, I wouldn’t be writing about it. I’d hesitate to call it a job board and it seemed like they were on the same page as I was. “Job Board” implies hollow opportunities, empty handshakes, contact information for strangers and even headhunters. If you were there for any other reason than to meet like-minded geeks, then you were out of place. This was just a cork board to help people.
The most likely explanation is because they were in a position to do so. The Geek Social has grown such a large turnout from the tech community (meaning, people who like to talk about science and technology — career not required), they felt compelled to help others find work and/or workers. Firefly Logic isn’t even hiring any new positions, which was also stated. From the few months that I’ve been attending the Geek Social, I’ve never once seen them put up a company logo either. So, a board for jobs is a responsible action for anyone who can gather those kinds of numbers.