The Curse of Competence

As much as I may grumble about it, I’m pretty adaptable to change.  I might prefer things to stay the way I’ve gotten used to them being, but I don’t drag my feet with the new stuff either.  It’s not going to change anything, and the longer I put off learning the new lay of the land, the longer it’s going to annoy me and make things generally miserable.  It doesn’t hurt that I tend to pick things up quickly, so a new system or a new procedure usually doesn’t take too much time to put down roots in my head.

The problem is people know this.  So on top of my own adjustments, I have to deal with people coming to me for help.  I don’t want to be rude and tell them, “Um, we have a help desk.”  So I’ll answer a question or two.  And that’s that.  I am now the help desk.  Because I’m right there, sitting at a desk, not hidden behind a phone menu or unmonitored inbox.  They can just walk a few steps away from their own desk to find me and I have no way to get away, short of faking temporary deafness or a stroke or something.  And either of those is a hell of a commitment.

All of this means I’m inevitably one of the people tapped to be in on the ground floor of future changes.  Which means I know things before anyone else.  Which means people stop asking me questions about the old new thing and start asking me questions about the new new thing.  Sometimes before I even know there’s a new new thing. It’s a vicious cycle of competence I’d be stupid to try to break out of, but which helps add more and more to my plate until said plate looks like coupon night at a Brazilian steak house.

And I’m too stubborn to throw up a white flag on some of those things.  It’s like Scotty on Star Trek wanting to look like a miracle worker; I want people to see how swamped I am and marvel that I can still get stuff done.  Plus, I don’t want to look like I can’t handle it.  I don’t think anyone would think any less of me if I said, “Can we take this baker’s dozen of things I do and trim down to a regular ol’ dozen?”  But it would feel a little bit like a surrender to me.  And maybe would end up giving something to someone who’d take my Scotty mantle away from me.

I guess I should be grateful.  There’s a comforting sense of job security that comes with knowing where the processes are buried.  And I’m in touch enough with my ego to admit I’d probably miss the attention of people tapping my brain every day.  But I’m also in touch enough with my hypocrisy to gripe about it in a blog post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s