I’m not a small guy. In fact, I’m kind of huge. People joke about me being an ogre all of the time. Most of the time, I take the joke in stride, and even relish in it.
Being in the tech community, I am especially an ogre. The typical software developer is either under 6 feet tall and 150 pounds, or under 6 feet tall, and a round 200+ pounds. That definitely is not me.
The average developer
Most of the time, being the fit guy is a welcome thing. People like asking questions about health and fitness. People enjoy making jokes about CrossFit. Usually, it’s a good time.
Conflict is an inevitable fact of any business however. When that conflict happens, my physical appearance frequently intimidates my peers.
It’s frustrating. I’m just as civil as the next person. I would never dream of using my size to intimidate coworkers or employees. However, there’s something instinctive to people to worry about physical safety during heated arguments.
If I am threatening, my point in a situation won’t be heard. I’ll be dismissed.
So, the consequence of this, is I typically have to act more calm, and more understanding than I want to. Otherwise, I’m threatening. It’s like I have a handicap walking into discussions. I’m not being myself. I’m being a tame version of myself to accommodate the fears of others.
I used to work with a guy (many years ago), who I won’t name. Let’s say his name is Joe. Joe was about 5’7 and 145lbs. If he knew something was bullshit, he could be as animated as he wanted to be. Nobody felt threatened by it. They would respond, with their own side of things, without the fog of fear to do so.
If I were ever to respond in the same fashion as Joe, I’m pretty sure the police would be called, and I’d be in jail.
Honestly, I don’t even know what to do about it all. The only real solution is to continue to be super-sensitive to the fears of my peers. Instincts don’t change. They’re biological.