It’s pretty easy to be brought up short when a client or boss comes out with something valid and challenging in an area of technical or specialized knowledge where you thought they were… well, kind of clueless.
It upsets the balance of power that you often find in these relationships: yes, they’re paying you, but you have some knowledge or skill they need. That can mean they defer to your experience or judgement, that you have a peer-to-peer relationship, or at least that they keep signing the paycheques.
So when you’ve been explaining that when you move the mouse like so that the cursor moves in just the same way, and the client/boss replies with a particularly penetrating insight into the relative virtues of the GPL over the BSD license, or the finer points of a media buying strategy… it can be tempting to try to rebalance the scales. A little bafflegab, a few intimidating acronyms, one or two references to polarizing the forward sensor array and rerouting power through the aft warp conduits, and guru status can be yours again.
But I’m not a fan of that approach. You could be caught out, for one thing. More important, it’s actually great when clients or employers understand the work you do. They become more effective advocates within the organization for it; they have more efficient and more interesting conversations with you; and you really can benefit from their ideas and inspiration. Honest.
What? You don’t believe me? You think you know better? Well, maybe come back once you’ve decompiled a positronic axial topography by hand in the middle of a graviton particle beam – then we’ll talk.