I went to Sydney last week for my first linux.conf.au. It was very intense. Geeks I know seem to believe that I am a geek. I must make a better effort at destroying this illusion.
I'm not much of a programmer and I don't intend to become one. I believe in using the right tool for the job and using that well. I'm writing a minor master's thesis and managing simple websites. Emacs, LaTeX, Template Toolkit and, underneath, a GNU/Linux system are the right tools for me and I'm trying to get better at using them for my particular needs. Maybe this makes me more geeky than the typical PC user, but it doesn't make me a typical LCA attendee or LUG member.
'Impostor syndrome' is the feeling that you're not as good as your peers, that you've snuck in by accident. It's important to recognise impostor syndrome when it's unrealistic and is a barrier to achieving one's full potential. But sometimes, one feels like an impostor because one is an impostor.
I found the education miniconf inspiring, encouraging and not too technical for me. I went to some of the less technical sessions in the LinuxChix miniconf. By the final block of LinuxChix sessions (focused generally on IT career development) I started to feel that I was in the wrong place. I'm not a woman interested in working in IT. I'm a woman who uses Linux.
I spent much of the next three days being antisocial and avoiding the conference. Occasionally I would attend a talk (and even understood some of them) or tried to engage with other humans. I felt terribly isolated. I couldn't talk about my isolation because everyone I knew seemed to be in full geek mode and I didn't want to burst their bubbles by moaning about how ungeeky I was.
I did get a lot out of Kathy Sierra's Friday keynote on engaging with users. I don't know the first thing about Java but her Creating Passionate Users blog deals with user relationships in general. Similarly, while her keynote was addressed at programmers, what she had to say was relevant to anyone who is involved in getting people to do things. A small revelation came when she asked who had read Flow and I was one of the few who raised their hands. (She was shocked.) Maybe I have more in common with lifehacks/GTD geeks than with Linux/programming geeks.
a bump on the log of life
- I am not a Linux geek