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I've been seconded to another team within the business, mainly thanks to my IT skills (I think). When discussing a seating change I was invited by the manager (who isn't IT) to 'join the geek squad'.

How can I approach the non-IT manager to discuss that this is a term that is slightly offensive when said by a non-geek?

closed as off-topic by Retired Codger, Masked Man, jimm101, Lilienthal, Erik Sep 13 '16 at 12:33

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  • I clarified this question so it is not as much a poll and more on topic. If this changed your intent too much, feel free to edit and clarify further. – enderland Sep 13 '16 at 15:25
  • Much better to be a geek than a nerd. The difference between a geek and a nerd? A nerd doesn't get invited to parties. A geek does get invited to parties, but when they get there they stand in a corner and don't speak to anyone. :) Wear your geek badge with pride. I know I do. – Laconic Droid Sep 13 '16 at 15:25
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    Don't try to speak for others. Most of us in IT don't feel the way you do. If you are offended, tell your non-IT manager that you are personally offended. – WorkerDrone Sep 13 '16 at 15:46
  • @LaconicDroid greatwhitesnark.com/2010/05/03/… – Kaz Sep 13 '16 at 17:03
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    I thought "geek squad" was the name given to Best Buy customer services, Not exactly a term that I would appreciate. – gnasher729 Sep 13 '16 at 20:23
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It depends on the person who said it, and how it was said.

Some few people mean it as an insult (I've had that happen exactly once), but many think of it as an endearing term for people with technical (especially IT) skills.

From what you described, it sounds tongue-in-cheek and not derogatory at all.

Of course, you still have the right to be mildly offended if you want to, but even if you don't like the term you should keep in mind that the manager probably meant it in a positive way.

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No, it's just an informal term for someone who's IT savvy. It's often used by IT professionals to describe themselves in a self-depreciating manner.

"Nerd" is slightly derogatory, but similarly shouldn't be used to take offense.

Unless the tone that was used is offensive, of course.

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    "It's often used by IT professionals to describe themselves in a self-depreciating manner." <-- In 20 years in IT, I don't know any professionals who refer to themselves as geeks. I develop software, and take offense to "hacker", or "coder" (these are terms used by people who say it tongue-in-cheek as a justification for not wanting to pay for professional work.) And..the term is "self-deprecating". – Xavier J Sep 13 '16 at 17:25
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    FYI, I edited the question to make it more on topic - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/75846/… – enderland Sep 13 '16 at 18:56
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Well I guess that depends of some factors :

  • Do you see yourself as one ? Or do you think you could be consider as such.
  • Is your manager seems to despise geek in any way ? (tone used, ...)
  • How is your relation with your manager ?

Unless I hold something personal against that manager I won't be bothered by this if he doesn't make an excessive use of those words.

Professionally I think that terms like "geek squad" shouldn't be used still.

Edit : Quoting @Christopher Estep from my comments to add his point of view :

"geek squad" is a pejorative, plain and simple.It's insulting. Embracing a term that is historically intended to be insulting doesn't make it any less an insult. And yeah, it's unprofessional

  • This comes as a surprise to us older geeks who boldly seized the name as our own back in the early 1990s – Retired Codger Sep 13 '16 at 12:20
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    @RichardU well it's really depends, but from a non IT manager, I'd rather not be called like this. I have a first name, a last name, and I job's name, I don't need other ones. It's not like a really care, unless the people using it are using it in a condescant way, I just think I don't need any additional name. Furthermore even as a developer i may not fit as a "geek" as i'm not so passionate about technologies, new things and so on. – Walfrat Sep 13 '16 at 12:26
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    "geek squad" is a pejorative, plain and simple.It's insulting. Embracing a term that is historically intended to be insulting doesn't make it any less an insult. And yeah, it's unprofessional. – Chris E Sep 13 '16 at 15:49
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    FYI, I edited the question to make it more on topic - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/75846/… – enderland Sep 13 '16 at 18:56
  • @RichardU - you may have embraced it as your own, but does everyone agree with you - Julie Smith defined a geek as "a bright young man turned inward, poorly socialized, who felt so little kinship with his own planet that he routinely traveled to the ones invented by his favorite authors, who thought of that secret, dreamy place his computer took him to as cyberspace—somewhere exciting, a place more real than his own life, a land he could conquer, not a drab teenager's room in his parents' house". – HorusKol Sep 13 '16 at 23:05

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