Can’t you just envision this as being a perfect line of Alice Kramden dialogue from an episode of The Honeymooners? Ralph is contriving some plan with Norton, purporting to be “the expert” on whatever scheme is being cooked up. And in steps clear-headed Alice, to utter the deflating question that brings it all back into perspective, “Oh, so now you’re an expert, huh?”
One of the themes Daniel J. Levitin tackles in his book, “This Is Your Brain On Music” is whether or not musical talent is a genetic trait or can be acquired by rote and practice. What he concludes–based on various studies–is that, by sheer practice alone, one can indeed become a “master”:
“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert-in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over ten years.”
To translate this into business workday terms, 10,000 hours is roughly 5-6 years, given a average workload of 1800 hours per year (assuming 2080 working hours per year ~ 40 hours/week, minus holidays, vacations, training, etc.).
I’ve now reached that point in my life, and my career as a consultant, were I feel pretty comfortable calling myself an expert. I guess you could say I feel like I’ve earned the right to say it. With over 20 years of IT consulting experience, and 10 years of working with Lawson products, it’s pretty safe to say, “John’s an expert”.
So the next time someone professes to be “an expert”, just respond: “Oh really. How long have you been practicing?”