The Curse of the Middle

Don’t you hate being in the middle? All you experts and know-nothings can stop reading right now…

Don’t you hate being in the middle? I mean, I ask you this assuming you are one of those people in the middle somewhere. All you experts and know-nothings can stop reading right now…

What is “The Curse of the Middle” you ask? It’s simply being in a position of being good and/or knowledgable at something, maybe better than a lot of people, but just not an expert. Mark at BrainWagon hit on this recently in a podcast when he said “People who don’t draw think that I draw reasonable well, people who actually are artists think that I draw terribly.” Bam! That nails it.

I sometimes feel I’m doomed to the middle. To always be a middler. Stuck. Never to go up (please?) or down (hopefully!) It’s like that episode of Seinfeld title "The Opposite" where Jerry is “even Steven” and things just always work out, no big wins, no big losses.

So on to my area of expertise… I don’t know if I have one. If I do, I can’t quite see it. I mean, I dabble in a lot of different technologies, Linux, Mac OS X, Perl, HTML, syndication, MySQL, automation, and on and on but I just don’t consider myself an expert on any of them. Why is that!? It is just me? I mean, other people think I’m an expert on things, of course this is just due to them not knowing as much as I do about a subject. How can I be an expert when there are people who know 10 times more than I do, and are 10 times better than I am, and are looked up to as experts?

The last time this subject came up in a career-type question it was sort of explained that I was someone who was not an expert in any one thing, but had very broad experience in many different things… Is that it? Am I ok with that? Should I even care about this “expert” thing?

It’s all so very confusing…

I used to work at a place where I was convinced if anyone else figured out that Google existed I’d lose all value. I suppose back then my expertise was in finding answers no one else could.

Does it all have to do with the pool you swim in? Is it all relative? I mean, at home I am the “computer expert” but if I go to a LUG meeting that might not be the case. That’s the geo-angle, but expand that to the internet, what does it take to be an expert at something on the big old internet? (I don’t even want to think about it!)

What makes an expert anyway? I know this guy who is often amazed at some of the things I come up with. To him I guess I’m an expert. He tells me I should write a book, and I pass it off. Of course we’ve learned that you can make more money selling the book than writing the book, but which one will make you an expert? An expert at what? The subject of the book, or the subject of selling books?

Anyway, I thought about it a bit more and told him “I am writing a book, it’s just on the internet!”

(New chapters daily!)