Nerd Farm

Photo by Mike from Pexels

Management Analysts are an unapologetic nerdy sort. Their love for plugging away on their spreadsheets and scrubbing endless data is pure and simple. Or at least that seemed to be the case in the nerd farm Jess was recently hired to work in.

Jess had no idea how she was selected for the analyst position. Had she successfully argued during her interview that her smorgasbord of past jobs actually entailed ‘analyzing data’? Even Jess was surprised when she saw the job offer in her inbox. But after unsuccessfully job hunting for six months, she wasn’t about to question the decision to hire her.

Dwight seemed himself to be a machine. An android. Or maybe more like an alien trying to act like a human. Sure, he said the appropriate things at the appropriate times, but it never felt natural. It always felt…calculated.

Dwight could walk surprisingly fast considering his one bum leg dragged on every other step. “How have things been going? You doing ok? Get your computer set up? Don’t touch that,” Dwight pointed to a floor fan that was running at full speed and yet missing it’s front cover for some reason.

“Did you think I was going to stick my hand into the fan?” Jess retorted, trying to chisel off some ice on their relationship.

“What? No. I said don’t do that,” Dwight responded matter of factly.

Jess considered herself a strong six, even a seven when she put some effort into it, but she was sure Dwight didn’t hire her for her looks. That wasn’t possible. Her interview was via phone and she didn’t have a social media account for him dig up. So why choose her when she was so drastically different from all the other robots that worked in the office?

Because they needed a real person to interact with the people.

It didn’t take long for Jess to figured it out. Dwight hired her exactly because she wasn’t a nerd. The office needed a Steve Jobs among all these Steve Wozniaks. Someone with some social skills that could interact with the outside world. Someone who would deal with all those, ugh, people.

But Dwight made a mistake.

Because Jess was no Steve Jobs.

She was a closet nerd.

Ok. Not a Steve Wozniak nerd. But quirky. Introverted.

Weird.

She was weird.

But when compared to her peers in the office, she looked like a New York City party planner or publicist for Trump. So she figured she could fake the funk pretty easily.

But it didn’t take long before they figured out she was one of them.

Six weeks. It took six weeks before Jess’ signature move to show dominance in the office was by mimicking how it’s done in the animal kingdom- by making herself look bigger. The idea came to her when one of her four cats, Mr. Pickle, got scared, arched his back and stood on his tippy toes.

“It was so ridiculous, what did Mr. Pickles think? That I would get scared and be like, ‘oh no, he’s doubled in size!’ Dumb cat.”

“He’s not dumb, he’s a cat,” Jess co-worker said dryly. Jess wondered why Eric was arguing with her. He was a large human, surviving mainly on a diet of McDonald’s burgers and soda. But here he sat, folded up in his chair like a pizza. He could stand up any time he wanted, lift his arms, flex his muscles and look as big as a house. He could be a monster and dominate the entire office into submission.

Seemed a waste.

Jess was a twig. If she tried to lift her arms to look bigger she would be as intimidating as looking at a praying mantis putting on a threat display in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Listen, if cats can figure out Snapchat animal filters then they certainly know they’re not fooling anybody with the whole ‘oh look I’m suddenly bigger’ routine.”

“And yet that same logic doesn’t seem to stop you from wearing padded bras it would seem,” Eric said, crunching on chips and turning back to his spreadsheet.

“Whoa, uncalled for. Look, all I’m saying is there’s a reason cats do it. Maybe it works. We won’t know until we try it.” Jess craned her neck past her computer screen to see if Eric was still listening. Eric looked over his shoulder with a quizzical glance.

“Try it?” Eric turned around to look at Jess just as Dwight walked in. Jess shoved her hands in the pockets of her sweater and spread her arms out wide, looking like a bat with it’s wings spread open.

She was huge.

THIS was a real power pose.

And she could feel the power.

Dwight gave no reaction.

Jess hissed. That seemed to be part of Mr. Pickle’s deal too.

“Nice try. But I will never be scared of a Polly Pocket,” Dwight said. “If you really want to show me your physical prowess, try replacing the water cooler.”

“I did, this morning, go check,” Jess said with her arms still in the air.

Dwight shot Jess a dubious look and walked into the next room. Through the wall Jess could hear, “Oh shit, look at that.”

“I am woman, hear me roar!” Jess yelled through the wall, arms still raised.

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