Available Balance
The Difference Between Advice and Competent Advice
May 14, 2017

I am sure you have a similar story.   Whether the ‘key player’ is a doctor, a lawyer, a technician, a dentist; the list is endless,  the wrong or misleading advice is not.

In Jamaica, as in other parts of the world, we have a real class system.  We could call it an apartheid without colour, a caste system without caste; but there are those who are Up There, and everyone else is Down There.

If you are Up There, as you breeze into an office, you are quickly directed to the best and the brightest.   If you are Down There, you wait until some shoe scraping can see you.

If you think you are ‘Up There’  and aren’t you’ll be channeled to a shoe scraper who is as interested in you and your problem as you are in a cigarette butt.

If you know you are considered Down There, then you don’t go to the ‘Tupernaros’ {our term for an ‘Up There’ Office}.   You go to someone whom you’ve heard about who was helpful with a friend or relative, or has a good reputation.

If you walk into an office with names outside and the person you are seeing doesn’t have a name outside, you’ve gotten the booby prize.

In many offices they take on a bunch of Newbies and give them ‘low level’ work and the ones that bring in the most money stay, the ones that don’t are gone.

So you can get a feel for how you are seen and how your problem will be treated.

For example; this group of people had a problem with a guy they hired who was pretty incompetent and they wanted to fire him.   The thing was, the contract was drafted by some clown and there was no ‘escape clause’.

They went to Tupernaros law firm which shipped them to some Newbie who didn’t see the sense of breaking a sweat.   But he took their money and said he’d analyse their document and complaints and get back to them.

Now, in Jamaica, we have a back log of cases for like eight years.  That means if you are suing someone it will take months for you to get the case on a list and appear before anyone, months after that to go to the next step, and after two years later on a list for trial two years from that moment.

It is unlikely that your case being only four or five years old will be heard where there are those cases seven and eight years old.   So you get another date next year.

Everyone in the legal profession knows this.  It isn’t a secret.  The Government talks about it, people talk about it.

So, wouldn’t it make sense to fire the guy, and let him sue, and spend the next few years, blocking and thwarting, and getting adjournments so that by the time the case reaches Court, he’s probably found another job somewhere else and will lose money fighting this case?

Even if he had a case to fight?

Any competent lawyer can tell you that if you hired someone to teach French and they were really bad at it, they have not fulfilled their part of the contract.  You expect a French Teacher to speak French, to be able to teach French.

So it doesn’t matter that there is no ‘exit’ clause.

However, when one isn’t Tupanaros, and the Newbie doesn’t have interest or time to waste, he’ll say, ‘pay off the guy’, and move on to some other case.

This is the difference between advice and competent advice.

Take the vexed subject of plagiarism.   There are definitions, there are various checkers, on and on.   But there are a number of ‘exceptions’ which are well known to any one who understands plagiarism.

For example, if you were to quote a source, specifying whom you were quoting and giving the quote; that is NOT plagiarism.  That is the opposite of plagiarism.

However, there are many writing sites which have no understanding of the law, may use some cheap or free plagiarism checker which is as useful as a pencil without lead.

These checkers merely toss up sentences and words which are like other sentences and words, and although what the checker is checking and what it is comparing the item to are totally unrelated.

Yet, owners of writing sites, unwilling or unable, to gain working knowledge of what plagiarism is and isn’t, will err on the side of stupidity.  A perfectly good item, full of facts and information will be tossed out, because of those facts and information.

The point is, if you don’t know, get Competent Advice.  And if you are unsure if the advice is Competent, go somewhere else.

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