“Ah! You don’t know that? It’s so obvious!”.
More often than not this is the response to my questions (both spoken and unspoken) when I converse with people who are from a diverse background or to be more specific not from the same profession as mine. One of the most recent incidences happened when i was talking to a web designer, who is a freelancer. I wanted to know if he works alone or has some partners to work on different portions of web designing, so i asked him “Who does the illustrations?” and the guy rolled his eyes and said “Of course an illustrator!”. Really! I thought it’s done by a hair dresser!
This is not uncommon. Many of us would have experienced this sometime or the other. And more importantly we would have reciprocated the same when we think the obvious questions are too lame to answer.
My one sentence message to all of us who intentionally or unintentionally are likely to repeat this behavior in future –
“NO, ITS NOT SO OBVIOUS”
When we feel that we are experts in a certain area we somehow get so overwhelmed with our knowledge that we feel that its given that people should know what we are working on, what is it called and what are the nuances involved. If someone asks a simple easy question related to our work, trying to either understand how we do it or why we do it, we deride them, we find such questions petty. Now let me ask you something, if you are a tech geek and are the Messiah of the future innovations to come would you know how a surgery is done or how the stock market functions? (Don’t say we will Google it :-P). Or if you are a hair stylist, would you know how a lion is trained in a circus or how a TV is repaired. No! Because you are not supposed to know everything nor you can. I think human search engines are still a myth!
The premise is that we are experts of our own subjects, we do not need to know everything about what others do and vice versa. If someone asks you a question (no matter how silly you feel it is) remember one thing, you are a subject expert the other person is not. Be humble and try explaining things in the most simplest way. And of course do thank him or her for taking interest in you and your work! Because as they say:
“A genius is someone who can make a layman understand in the simplest way what he or she does”