Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Experts

I have a confession to make. I am a do-it-yourselfer -- or rather I think I am. I have this grand illusion that I not only can do anything, but that I should do everything.

My wife and I have been considering remodeling our basement for a couple of years now. She has been gently trying to convince me to hire someone to do the job for us. No, not me! I will do it myself! (imagine me standing with chin and chest outthrust pretending that I am wearing a cape billowing in the wind) Do I know the first thing about installing an electrical system to code? It has something to do with wires, right? Do I know anything about building a bathroom from the ground up? Hey, I've heard of "sweating" a pipe! Could I even build a stud wall with any degree of accuracy? I'm relatively sure there are nails involved.

Obviously, my skills in the above areas are a bit limited. The thing is, I know I could learn how and that's what gets me into trouble. After all, most people think programming a computer is a pretty complex thing. I think it's easy. Surely I could learn how to remodel my basement! Of course, then I reflect on the fact that I have twenty years of experience putting all the ones and zeros in the right order. And the first few years were filled with errors, missteps and occasional moments of outright catastrophe. Upon reflection, do I really want that in my basement? Hmmm.

On top of that, of course, is the consideration of how much my time is worth. I could easily see myself spending an entire day trying to hang a single piece of sheetrock. What else could I have done with my time? The mind boggles. In fact, I'm sure I could make more in that day, doing the job at which I have become expert, than a professional construction worker would charge me to hang that same piece of sheetrock.

So, in what areas of your life would you consider hiring an expert (even if you know you could do just as good a job yourself)?

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