There’s a real pride and anxiety in being and amateur expert.
Pride is simple. It feels awesome that people come to YOU for advice in whatever your expertise is. A sense of superiority and brilliance emanates from your being. People look to puny you (even if your expertise is on a certain company’s shoe sizing, or who make better sour cherry balls [gedilla’s are the worst], or how long you have to wait for settlement on a disputed claim) You are the definition of the Ultimate.
The anxiety is simple too. You’re an amateur. You know more than most people on the subject, but you’re not really an expert –yet. So every time someone calls and says,
“I knew you’re the right person to ask..”
“You would know the answer to this…”
You freeze, and your mind is tempted to go blank. Will you know the answer? Will you be able to help them (not even for the sake of helping them, but for our own validation and pride)? Will you measure up and give a satisfactory answer. You listen carefully to what they ask (don’t listen to closely, because then I find I hear more complicated questions than the one being asked), and you constantly remind yourself to breathe, and you’re waiting anxiously for the light-bulb to go off in your head that shines “I know the answer!”
It’s a fine line of pleasure and torture.
I helped someone tonight, I was awesome, and henceforth feel awesome…until I don’t know the answer.
P.S. Curiosity – what are you considered to be a quasi-expert in?)
P.P.S. I’ll answer for myself – teaching English and Writing, politics, useless knowledge, ipods, psychology- theory and practice, and what matches with what and when