The ‘Expert’

A co-worker stopped by my desk yesterday to ask me a question. I gave him some information on the topic, but then he wondered if I had any documentation on the subject. I told him, “No. I’d have to write something up for you.”

He was actually looking for the information for someone who worked in a different part of the company, and asked if he could give them my name and they could call me to discuss the topic.

Sure. I said.

A few minutes later, I was CC’d on an e-mail from my co-worker, telling this other person to contact Craig, “who is our resident expert on the topic.”

I went from “knowing something” to being “an expert” in a matter of minutes. I chuckled, thinking, “I’m no expert.”

I wonder how many other “experts” are out there?

The more I think about it, the more I think that my co-worker was not only boosting my ego by calling me an “expert”, but also his own credibility in the eyes of the recipient. Not only had he been helpful, but had found the resident expert on the topic. My own claim of “I’m no expert” sounds like false modesty (unless, of course, I can’t really deliver the goods.)

I know I’m probably over-analyzing the whole incident, but how often do I do the same thing: Boost someone else’s reputation to make myself look good? Probably more often than I realize.


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