I’ll start by assuming you are just like me. You’re a developer, you went to a few conferences and meetups. You enjoyed going there. You learned quite a lot of new things. You’ve seen lots of people who might be labeled a “rockstar” by others. Stupid term, I know, but well, we’re having quite the time right? Afterwards, let’s go crazy, let’s do aracde games, karaoke all of that. Dive bar? Sure thing, chicken wing. Oh, yes and we’re super inclusive, right, so everyone is welcome. Just come along and be a super awesome person with us. Amazing, isn’t it?
While I admit that the above tends to contain a little too much sarcasm, I think it’s still time to write about an issue in our industry and community that many people might not be aware of and that I would like to call Awesomeness mainstreaming.
I feel that we are on a great way when it comes to being an inclusive community when it comes to gender, race and everything physical. Many things need to be done still, but we will get there one day. But is this also applied to our differences in psyche? What if someone is simply unfit for being a rockstar? What if dealing with other people is actually a strenuous task for someone? It’s ok and I assume you think the same way. Until the end of your very next conference / meetup / you name it: LET’S BE CRAZY PEOPLE, WHO DOESN’T LOVE CRAZY PEOPLE?!?!??.
I once tried to sign up for a conference. I wasn’t allowed to submit the form because I could not supply a Twitter handle. I’m not on Twitter, I can’t stand the constant noise, it’d kill me. But hey, developer, tweeting, awesome people, I mean what’s wrong with me anyways? How would you arrange meeting your peers at that dive bar anyways? I ran around that conference with a random person’s twitter handle printed on my badge. Awesome.
And I’m still a pretty uncomplicated case. We do have people in our community who have experienced severe mental illness. They are just as valuable as anyone else. There will be people in our community who have tried to kill themselves before. I’m glad they didn’t. But I am pretty sure that they will have perspectives on life I can’t even think of. And I am pretty sure they will not enjoy someone yelling “Y’all are awesome” (what has been yelled at me on multiple occasions by now) at them.
I’d like to ask you for one thing: can we start trying to accept different / “non-standard” personalities in the same way that we physical differences? It shouldn’t be too hard and noone will get hurt. If you are having the time of your life doing what you do, that’s pretty cool. But someone else might be thinking about other things this very moment. Let’s be inclusive towards them by letting them do what they want to do. It shouldn’t be required to be awesome.