I am obsessed with competence. It has been an obession for the last twenty years competing in private industry internally against colleagues and against external coemption for various projects. I have been fortunate that I have sit at the knee of very smart people that I would consider “experts.” Expert is an interesting word in private industry. After working professionally, we are told not to use the word “expert” because people would expect a level of work that is beyond what is the “standard” of what is provided by the industry. I see the word expert alot more academically and in social media circles. It seems that there are a lot of experts in both fields. Yet, the whole concept of “expert” is clouded for me looking back at a twenty year career.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect has been brought forward to explain to people what it takes to really “learn a subject.” Malcolm Galdwell’s book “Outliers” has promoted the idea that “ten thousand hours to be an expert.” So, that means that I should have reached the plateau of sustainability by now. I have worked 33,000 hours as a professionally and billing my time that a person/company pays for my work.
Professionally, I feel that I am still climbing the “slope of enlightment” even after the 33,000 hours of on the job experience, 4 years of undergraduate, 2 years doing a masters, and now 5 years of working part-time as a PhD. I don’t know what the plateau of sustainability looks like.
As I sit here, I wonder if the plateau of sustainability is wisdom. I heard recently that knowledge is what is taught or you get from a textbook that you can recall. I have had plenty of classes that I can’t recall a thing. Wisdom is the ability to recognize the patterns of what you were taught and using previous experiences to know what to do. I do not know if the plateau of sustainability is reserved for wisdom. I have another 30 years of hike the “slope of enlightenment.”