BrianSpencer's blog

Seeking help in the wrong places

It is a common but often fraught practice for people to seek advice and help from people they know, are nearby or are well known, rather than seek out someone who actually knows.

Asking someone at the next desk is convenient, but won't necessarily be more than sharing ignorance. There is a lot of misinformation about what regulations require or do not require. One person's practice can become "law" when it is in fact just one interpretation.

We don't know what we don't know, and ironically if I don't know that I don't know, I'll think I know.

It is something that all of us who deal with regulated practice, whether in industry or education and training, need to keep in mind. Those who are near at hand, or those who have good reputations are not always the best placed to advise us. Even Google has it's limitations. It often simply exposes us to a wider pool of (not necessarily informed) opinion.

One of my favourite radio programs is "This American Life"  which airs on Radio National on Sunday nights. The episode below features two stories about people who seek help from unlikely (mystifying) sources. If you've got time listen to the whole program, but the story that really took my fancy was about some imaginary correspondence between Gregor Samsa (the coachroach from Franz Kafka's "Metamorphis") and Dr Seuss. (If you scroll through to the 41 minute mark this should be the start of this story)





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