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Re: Incompetent? Haven't a Clue!

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"Incompetent People Really Have No Clue, Studies Find They're blind to own failings, others' skills."

Erica Goode, New York Times 1-18-2000

 
This, indeed, is a source of personal conundrum, because I'm mortified at the prospect of being deemed/found to be  incompetent! 
 
It has occurred to me that the "incompetent" also take umbrage when their "errors" are pointed out to them.  I include myself with that comment.  Self-delusion is easy, and being brought back to reality is usually painful.
 
Given that the findings of this article are acceptably accurate, my question would be, "How do I structure my life (work) to provide me with the checklist that would identify when I'm out to lunch?"  Is a simple QA/QC regime enough?  Is Professional Development enough?  Do exams, even, guard against incompetence?
 
One of the concerns expressed by our esteemed Association, here in BC, Canada, is in fact the issue identified in the article.  It's implication leads one to question whether the clamor against better, recognizable, qualification is, in itself, a clamor to avoid the fear of being suspected (not necessarily proven) of being "incompetent".  In order to avoid "detection" I, as an incompetent should surely develop a "quality control" system that yanks my chain when I digress from good engineering, or scream blue murder?
 
Am I, a Sole Practitioner who should be continuously networking with peers anyway, surely in danger of this, more so than a peon in the bowels of a "reputable" company?
 
Should I develop a check regime with other engineers, or should I look to a psychology-based solution?  Does the required "plan check" system, for example, adequately protect the public from the incompetent?  Are the incompetent to be treated with disdain, or assisted in addressing their problems?  Actually, the article suggests that incompetent people would probably resist efforts at assistance, because they are incompetent.
 
More thoughts.  Is incompetence merely a measure of the inability of a person to rationalize, and coordinate, a "large" number of issues/tasks at the same time?  Is incompetence also a measure of the inability to function outside "linear" thinking processes?  I.e.  Is a person who can only do one activity at a time "incompetent?  Is incompetence a maturity issue?  Is it the mental resistance to "looking ahead".  I suggest that most children are "incompetent" until a "certain" age.  Are the incompetent merely immature beings?  Is the village idiot merely incompetent? Or are the incompetent merely village idiots?
 
And a very important question.  How do we help these people if/when they are identified?  Do we want to help them?  Shall we just "seek and destroy"?  I suggest that vilification is not an ethically valid, nor societally productive, solution!
 
$0.02 worth, or less.
 
Thor A Tandy  P.Eng
Victoria BC
Canada
e-mail: vicpeng(--nospam--at)telus.net