Go Girl Geeks.

By Tracy Evans

 

My husband is a techno geek. Okay, he’s probably going to be ticked that I called him a geek but hey, aren’t most guys into everything electronic? Yep. But guess what? So are many women. Gasp. You heard right. When it comes down to it many soccer moms can kick dad’s butt when it comes to installing the VCR, fixing the computer or programming the kid’s iPod. That’s right, the secret’s out. Women aren’t hiding their technical know-how anymore. In fact, some moms are so good at fixing stuff they’re getting paid to do it.

 

Nicole Conway has been taking stuff apart and putting it back together again since she was a little girl. At the ripe old age of four her curiosity got the best of her and she became fascinated with all gadgets large and small: pens, radios, and televisions. Sure, most kids are obsessed with things that light up and have buttons. But how many little girls intentional dismantle an old television to see how it works? Nicole did. And she’s still doing it today at the age of forty-one. The Long Island mom of three is part of the popular Best Buy Geek Squad. You know that team of smarty pants types that can fix the gadgets in your home that you can’t. Chances are you’ve seen a member of the geek squad drive through your neighborhood in that cute little black-and-white beetle bug. Ah, like me, I bet you thought the geek driving the car was probably a guy not a girl.

 

Well if your computer is on the fritz and you call for help the geek who arrives at your door could be from either gender. A growing number of women now make up the 17-thousand member geek squad team. Nichole is a Deputy Field Marshal now – a fancy word for manager – but she used to work door-to-door as a Double Agent. The house call was always welcome but customers were often surprised to see a woman standing on the porch. Nichole says, “Men are usually surprised, women are usually thrilled”. And that’s before Nicole even got into the house, the really magic happened inside. One female customer was so impressed with Nicole – who repaired the family’s computer and wireless home network – the customer picked up the phone and called her spouse. Nicole says, “She called her husband in front of me, to tell him that a woman had fixed the problems that he could not. A pretty satisfying moment, I must say!”

 

Not bad for a woman who just a few years ago was working in a different field altogether. After spending years as a social worker – a meaningful but not profitable career - Nicole was determined to try something new. So when she heard about the Geek Squad she knew she had found her calling. Finally, all those years spent tinkering with gadgets had paid off. A good paycheck, a flexible family-friendly schedule, and a great group of geeks. What more could a woman want?

 

brighteyes
05.08.09

I am a techno geek myself. It is funny to receive calls from male customers who need assistance from me for their computers. Sometimes it is well received and sometimes it is not! LOL! I still troubleshoot and make sure that the issue has been solved.

pixlchik
10.07.08

I love it. The problem with the whole 'things-technical-being-for-guys' concept that perhaps women are just finding out is that a great majority of the things ARE NOT THAT TECHNICAL! Women have been following recipes for ages in their 'traditionally-assigned spot,' the kitchen, ;-) and I can tell you, some of them require a lot more intuition, sharpness, estimation, inelligence and judgement than fixing a mechanical problem in a machine. Epecially to come out exceptionally well.

Just last week I called up my local Radio Shack to ask if they sold torx t6 and t7 screw drivers. (I probably referred to them on the phone as 'tools for those star-shaped screws on the back of my computer'. . . but certainly didn't use the word "thingies" at all.)
The guy just cuts me off and says kind of condescendingly, 'Wait, on your computer? No, no, you're not supposed to remove those. That's why they use the star-shaped ones.'

Um, excuse me?
Did I call the Genius Bar?
Did I ask for your permission?
Do you know anything about me or my abilities aside from my female voice?
Aren't you just supposed to just tell me that you carry the darn torx-thingies for $16.95 and there's one in stock that you'll set aside for me to pick up?

I cut him off with "I know what I'm doing - do you have it or not?" (Sheesh, even if I didn't know what I was doing, making mistakes is how we learn. And it's my computer, my choice.)

So I ask you readers, if I were a guy would he have said this? Well nobody knows. Point is, I went down there and bought the set, after he asks me to quench his burning curiosity as to what I was trying to do to my computer. I decide to forego the subtlety of batting my eyelashes beneath raised, worried eyebrows, and a slow, sweet Southern drawling of 'Who, little-ol' me? Attempt to open up that confusing manly machine? Why, whatever are you thinking? This is for my husband!' So I just tell him that my Mac's Optical/Super Drive (DVD player) was faulty/busted, so I was replacing it with a salvaged one I found online for 30 bucks.

When he realized I wasn't a complete nimrod who thought the star-shape of the screws was intended to appeal to OMG-&-E!-obsessed women, and removing them would magically provide me secret access to all the Hollywood celebs' personal web sites, he tried to struggle out some excuse a la "Oh you're a Mac user . . . I work on Windoze."
Hm.
Went home, grabbed my printed out instructions (step-by-step and EZ to follow, BTW) from Powerbookmedic.com, said a quick anti-static prayer, and installed the drive I just got in the mail from macrecycling.com (they have a cool tech guy I chatted with on the phone for a bit about my problem...helped a lot!).

Last night I popped a VeggieTales movie into the drive, which until now has always spit out every CD and DVD I've put in the slot, and my 3 year old boy and I plopped onto our beanbags, cuddled under a blanket and watched and laughed as a humongous whale swallowed a talking asparagus stalk. What could be better?

I think being a bit of a geek makes me a better mom -- and a friend to the environment. My son doesn't see a helpless female who waits for a man to come and do things for her, nor does he think that you 'go out and buy a new one' whenever something breaks. +AIO

InventingMatilda
08.04.08

In today's world, it is a handicap to not have an edge on technology. Snaps to you, Tracy, for being willing to carve out an time and resources so that your girls have the upper hand.