Recently, I was regaling my partner with exciting tales of what thrilling things I’d got up to at work that day, while he listened with eager attention. Well, actually, what he was doing was trying to go to sleep, and I was babbling at him about research problems, but…
I was explaining that I was frustrated that I was busy when a research enquiry that had come in, and that when I actually got a chance to do it, I found the answer within a few minutes. “I could have had that result back to the enquirer in minutes, rather than hours, and looked really efficient, since it was so straightforward to find.” I was pouting.
“Yes, but your enquirer has no idea of the level of skill it took you to find that answer. They asked you because they didn’t know how to find it, and you are the expert. Just because you could find it easily doesn’t mean it would be as easy for anyone else. And answering too quickly could make it appear that it was an simpler task than it was. To them, and probably others, it wasn’t an easy task: don’t make the hard things too simple, because they’re not.” he mumbled, and rolled over.
You know, he’s quite wise sometimes, that boy – the pressure to get things done and passed over to enquirers as soon as possible can make even the person doing the requested research work forget that the job they’re doing is more skilled than you might expect. Just because you can do it easily, it doesn’t mean others would.
And, it’s not about how fast you can do it, but the skill you use to do it.