In Search For Expertise
What makes someone an expert?
A person who is knowledgeable about a subject isn't necessarily an expert:
Expertise.. When Is a person considered an "expert"?
Answer: It takes a combination of knowledge and proven experience along with mastery of a certain area of skill in order to earn title of "expert". For example; a young person might already be an expert in woodworking skills if they grew up learning at home how to craft and build with wood. In other cases, a person may become an expert of design by extensive study and research. Sometimes, in the case of scientists, formal education is required to learn the theories of a certain subspecies, or process. One must never ask however, for someone who has never built a house top to bottom, to come in cold, and construct you a home. He may know about design, but have no practical skills. So when you're investing your life, family, and income to build a home, you would certainly look for someone that has a great reputation and very sound references. Just having the blueprints in hand isn't a recipe for success if the builder cannot read and translate the drawings into dimensional concept, or perhaps cannot measure, cut, and assemble the materials per "spec". It's a rare find today to find someone who has design skills and practical experience. Yet to find someone who is at an expert level of general contractor, constructor and detailed builder is indeed more rare. Today's industry is comprised of a general contractor who in turn uses "subs" who specialize in electrical, plumbing, tile, cabinets and other necessary skills. So the question of "expert" can easily divert itself in different directions during a quest for "expertise". The final outcome or "quality" will be set by the skill level of your expert whom you have employed.
Mastery of a trade is mostly born out of several ingredients starting with formal training, and apprenticeship, but can certainly be enhanced by natural skills, having a "knack for it", and certainly many times you will hear that someone has a love for their trade, artistry, or other venue of livelihood. Sometimes it starts with a youth experimenting with ROTC, Wood Shop, Future Farmers, or Home EC, during high school. They discover their likes, and talents and learn how to train for, apply and overcome until they are adults living out their dreams. You will find with each person a story and a unique opportunity they had entering their trade and developing their skills. If you find someone who loves what they do, you are well on your way to finding an expert, but don't discount the different levels of skill and expertise and don't settle until you are satisfied.
What to do when you make a bad choice.
Once I wanted to have an arctic entry added to my three story house, and intended for entryways on the 1st and second floor, then do a hip roof with a small gable in to the 3rd floor exterior wall, all was well, until I hired a young would be carpenter to begin framing the lower walls, using 2x6 studs and treated plates on a cement slab with j bolts. To make a long story short, at the end of the first day, I found he had nailed the end together on the ground which was ok, but then he stood them up and somehow he had lifted them and was wedging them into a space smaller than the walls he had built. That was my cue that I had hired an un-experienced builder. I immediately set about to straighten out the situation by inviting him to leave. Hence the old rule of thumb; Measure twice, cut once, and sometimes the second rule of thumb, Cut your losses. Listen carefully; A canoe builder is going to scratch his head if you ask him to build an ark. Likewise, you must quickly differentiate between running a daycare or managing a construction team. Can you see from this story what to do when you have made a bad decision in engaging a job being done? How much more important, and greater the risk if you hire a poorly trained general contractor!
When you make a good choice;
At least twice in my life I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from skilled craftsmen, while using them on special projects. It takes only a few words to describe their level of expertise. When they were done with the project, the project itself declared their skill level. their work was their trademark. Now, it doesn't mean that they never had a setback, or had to fit and refit something, but they knew how to achieve a high level of perfection. They were patient and willing to persevere, not willing to stop until it was right and the project was completed to high standards.
With this being said, many times the economy of today and the demanding work load requires that work is done quickly, with sometimes less steps in completion than the old masters of carpentry were inclined to go in search of perfection. It seems there is a price tag on perfection relative to "how much perfection can you afford?" ; so believe me when you find someone with extensive skills who is also detailed and driven with pride of quality, it is rare. It sometimes depends upon the price being paid. Experts who are real experts are in great demand. Still, there are those who won't be bought or sold out to the highest bidder and it pays to spend time in conversation with them, and to see if they will be sympathetic to your cause.
© 2020 Oscar Jones