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November 23, 2009

Dating: the nuclear option

Filed under: News — posted by Mia @ 1:41 pm

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s strategy for attracting bright young talent gives new meaning to the phrase “nuclear fusion.”

As Jim McDermott, NCR chief human capital officer, said last week, “There are incentives, and then there are incentives. When we’re hiring, we say, ‘Is there a significant other in the picture?’ If there’s no significant other, I tell them, ‘We can help.’ ”

As the Federal Times blog explains, “McDermott said his unorthodox recruitment pitch works because while nuclear engineers may know how to split atoms, they’re not quite so adept on the dating front.”

I admit I got a bit skeeved upon reading “human capital officer” in the same breath as “dates” — and McDermott never explains exactly how his group can help — but there is something refreshing in that cool logic. Who can appreciate a nerd as well as a nerd? If highly specialized work is your life, then the physics lab might in fact be the best place to — as the blog puts it —  “meet other single engineers (who probably won’t roll their eyes at Star Trek or lectures on reactor cooling systems).” Niche dating in all flavors, especially nerd dating is on the rise thanks to the internet, and as BG points out, many geeky pursuits are inherently social.

And nobody’s being pimped out here. With more gender balance in the work environment, the notion of finding a suitable mate is extended to every engineer being courted by the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission. So far, NRC’s dating scheme, whatever it is — and which McDermott jokingly calls “NRC Harmony,” after eHarmony — has resulted in about eight or nine weddings.

Coda: While some blog commenters think find McDermott’s candor stereotyping and impolitic, NerdyGirl truly gets in the last word:”Who let the Muggles in? They’re the only ones who are whinging about what McDermott said. When your head is full of crunchy data goodness, it’s smart to have someone who understands that you don’t have time to get all ‘socially smooth’ like the Muggles are. There are too many interesting things to research and process…”

Lagniappe: 16 Golden Retrievers Teach You About Atoms! You’re welcome.

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