Enough to Be Dangerous

There’s probably a stage, and probably more than one stage, in every field of endeavor when you know enough to be dangerous.

I know I’ve been at that stage on more than one occasion across at least two fields. I’ve probably been at that stage unawares many more times than that.

I came across a post on a help board (no need to say where) from someone who had tried to copy and modify a WordPress installation. That’s fine. But he did it on his client’s live website. When it broke he didn’t know how to fix it. Oops. That client’s probably going to be looking at some serious rebuild costs.

I’ve been filling in frequently at a congregation where the pastor left. He was a nice guy. Well liked by the people. It was his first church. He just got himself in over his head and had to make a quick exit.

A few things have saved my butt at times when I’ve known enough to be dangerous:

  1. When you can do something in a test environment first, do it in the test environment first.
  2. When you must do something in a live environment (where real people will be affected and there’s no test environment available) and you’ve never done it in a test environment before, make sure you have someone else around who has more experience about it than you.
  3. If in doubt, ask first. Risking looking ignorant by asking a “dumb question” is better than removing any doubt about how dumb you are.

Of course, that’s just a bare minimum start. What would you add to the list?