I'm not Technical, but...

Sunday, 22 Jul 2018

A day in the life of

There you are, describing the latest solution/thesis you have to a problem, Project or task, and then someone comes along and says:

I'm not technical, but...

And just like that, you're thrown sideways. Disparaged. Condescended. Belittled. Siderailed.

My problem here isn't the content that's about to follow - it could well be valid (it could well not, too), and could change the direction of the idea to the right direction. My problem is the derision and disdainful manner this is normally delivered to me in. I mean, why even include the prelude and the "but"; if you've got something to contribute, jump in - it's what you'd do in a normal business conversation

You wouldn't say that to a Doctor

Would you say the same to another field or vocation that you were more familiar with - maybe a Doctor or Healthcare Professional? What about another field you popularly know to exist, but probably don't have exposure to - maybe a Nuclear Physicist?

It's not that your opinion is invalid; you have the right to opine about anything, in the same way I would. It's that your presentation of said opinion is disrespectful - not just of me, but also of:

  • My chosen career profession
  • The financial and personal background
  • The context of your and my employment
  • Our respective positions to our employer

But for some reason, you think that the inclusion of this prelude with a little "but" counteracts all these.

Respect that I'm here for a reason

  • I'm not a Project Manager; I'm not paid to manage time and cost of delivery (but I can cost-up and cook a three-course meal)
  • I'm not a Business Analyst; I'm not paid to analyse business requirements against our employer's strategy (but I can work out the difference to my family of buying a shiny new MacBook vs getting that larger house we could all do with)
  • I'm not a Commercial Analyst; I'm not paid to understand common costings or understanding market economics (but I do recognise that buying artisanal gluten-free bread should cost more than a standard white loaf)
  • I'm not a Legal Consultant; I'm not paid to understand the laws my employer is subject to, or loopholes within them (but I do recognise that torrenting Adobe Photoshop is a lesser crime than killing a man)

We all know how to do things we're not paid to do; that's why opinions can be valid. We're not paid to know all the things we can do; that's why you need to respect that I exist here for a reason, the same way I respect you exist.

If you don't understand or accept something, feel free to question and interject; but don't add an insulting prelude before you do, and recognise that the person you're talking to was not only employed to do the very thing you're about to question, but has also legitimately built a career upon it.

I'm not business; but...

Butt out.