Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Badge Conundrum

At work everyone has a personal badge used to enter the buildings, use the elevators, basically to have access to anything. The smart thing to do is to have it on you all the time which is why they also provide us with lanyards so we can have our badges around our necks. Surprisingly, people prefer keeping them in their pockets or just holding them in their hands because, you know, wearing your badge around your neck is "nerdy".

I still remember in high school, people would only put their name tags on display during morning assemblies or spot-checks, while the rest of the time people would bend over backwards just to hide their name tags for fear of looking like nerds. Some would turn their name tags around so the names weren't visible, and some would just keep them in their shirt pockets. The coolest guys already had their names etched on everybody's mind anyway so wearing name tags was beyond redundant to these people. Breaking rules, no matter how petty, was an essential part of being accepted by the cool kids. I had friends whose stationery sets consisted of a single pen because apparently having a pencil case was uncool. Why walk around carrying unnecessary stuff like rulers and erasers when you could just mooch off of the nerds who had them?

I, on the other hand, was already a huge nerd back then so I didn't bother breaking simple rules because I reckoned they made complete sense. I always wore my name tag with pride, never went to school without socks, never kept my hair long, never had 'cool' off-coloured pants that were not quite as olive as they needed to be, always had my shirt neatly tucked in my pants, so on and so forth. I figured that breaking rules was really more of a hassle than anything else and I was too lazy to go out of my way to look cool.

Fast forward 9 years, I am now working amongst highly intelligent adults and high school inferiority complex is way behind me, so it's still bewildering to see people trying their hardest to conceal their badges like it's some sort of skin disease. You can't spell school without cool, so it made sense back then. But now it just seems utterly stupid. In a company where high-tech airplanes are the default screensavers and everybody could spit out Star Wars quotes on command, it's safe to say that everybody here is already a bona fide gigantic nerd. We were hired because of it. If you think wearing your badge around your neck would make you a dork, well sorry but.. that ship has sailed long ago my friend. You can hide your badge all you want, but your fluency in at least 5 programming languages is proof enough that you're one of us.

I've made peace with my geekiness and now I embrace it fully, so it's hilarious to see others still struggling with their inner nerds. Or maybe, just maybe, they are so afraid that displaying their badges would burst their nerd-o-meter and they would be catapulted onto Nerd Planet with no way of getting back down. In that case, I hold nothing against them.


WP said...

Well, it's rather uncomfortable to have people knowing your name at a glance. Though in an office, if everyone wore their name tags, we would be equal. But if most people decided not to wear them...I don't know whether I'd like people to know my name when I have no way of knowing theirs (without asking).

And another reason why I'd hide my badge is to hide the photo on it... (sigh, vanity...)

Kahuna said...

On our badge the name is written in a font small enough for anyone to
be able to actually read it without really trying. Same goes for the photo. Which is why I think here it's not a vanity thing. More to cool factor.

murahmurah shop said...

pakai badge nampak mcm nerd?? tak tau pon ada persepsi macam tu. Lepas baca entry ni, otw pergi toilet, aku baru perasan semua orang tak gantung badge kat leher. Bukanlah semua orang, ada 2-3 kerat je gantung badge kat leher. Haha. Salah sorangnya aku. Tujuan pakai kat leher supaya senang nak capai kad tu. takpe, selagi memudahkan kita, tak nyusahkan orang lain, buat je lah kan.