I guess it’s fairly obvious, but if you are used to thinking about specific subjects, then you’ll find it easier to navigate the issues. What is less obvious is that this is the yin of a consultant’s value-add; the yang being their specialist knowledge.
I have two concrete examples for you. This little cutie-pie is a stray we have been calling Teh Blak Kitteh for the last four years. He’d come in, wolf down food, gaze soulfully around the kitchen like a Victorian waif ‘oo knows all this warmf an’ lovliness ain’t fer the loikes of ‘er, and then disappear off into the night. He’d run away immediately if I stood up. Poor little blak kitteh.
Anyhoo, a fortnight ago he hobbled into the kitchen unable to put his visibly swollen back leg to the ground. This was the point where – if I was used to the subject of how to deal with injured strays – I would have called one of the rescue organisations. Instead I dithered for a week or so before calling the RSPCA who lent me a trap. I didn’t even know there were such things as cat-traps, though it’s pretty obvious really. And that’s my point. Animal welfare isn’t my area so I made an elementary mistake and left it a week, and as a result he ended up with septic arthritis and permanent damage to the joints.
My second example is – quite literally – more concrete. The parents of a friend bought a house as an investment property and it’s been like a painful episode of Property Ladder without the pleasure of Sarah Beany. The house is irredeemably damp and had no heating, it has an eye-wateringly small kitchen and you have to walk through one of the bedrooms to get to the bathroom. They’ve agonised about these problems and come up with solutions that have made things worse not better, like buying the house in the first place. They aren’t stupid, just inexperienced: they’ve never actually owned a house before let alone sold one.
It’s annoying when you hire consultants to end up paying for common sense (don’t ignore the problem, call the RSPCA; don’t install electric storage heaters against the interior walls, install gas central heating with radiators under the windows). But common sense isn’t that common really, and if it’s not your area you won’t be familiar with the issues and how they affect each other. You do need advice, and there’s no shame there.
Teh Blak Kitteh, incidentally, is doing fabulously. I took him to the local vet myself rather than entrusting him to the RSPCA and he spends his days sleeping, flirting with the nurses and gulping down food mixed with meds. He goes to a new home with some very patient friends later this week.