Everyone thinks they’re a designer!

I think I’m pretty proficient at using a screwdriver – it seems quite easy. Even so, I don’t want to be an electrician; I don’t think my screwing skills give me any insider knowledge about electrics; and I would never dream of telling an electrician how to rewire my house. Why? Because my house might blow up if I give him the wrong advice and he’s spineless enough to follow it. So, why should I respect his expertise as a professional?

1. he or she’s been professionally trained – that in itself required an initial commitment – he decided he was interested enough and had sufficient aptitude to commit to several years of training;

2. knowing how to use an electrician’s tools doesn’t give me any electrical knowledge at all – absolutely none whatsoever;

3. watching him working, observing the final result, and looking at work other electricians have done – that doesn’t give me any electrical knowledge either – absolutely none whatsoever;

4. this is the important one – he is paid for doing that job and is personally responsible for the final result. If I’ve told him I don’t like the green cables and I want them taken out, I am not the one responsible when the lights don’t come on. He is.

All this means that, if I intimidate him into letting me tell him his job, I will have prevented him from doing good work. In the worst case, I will have made him look incompetent and put his reputation and livelihood at risk.

What my house might look like if it was on fire!


Don’t worry, your house won’t catch fire if you try to tell your design professional to do the wrong thing. But you will prevent her from doing her best work.


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