There is an old saying that “Work flows to those who do it,” and it often seems that individuals branded as subject matter experts end up at the receiving end of this aphorism. And yet, while having to deal with additional work is definitely a burden, SMEs rarely reject the additional work outright. They may complain, but they still get the additional work done. There seems to be a rather complex psychology at work within most SMEs. They become SME’s because they genuinely make an effort to master some area of knowledge or practice, and they recognize that they are valued to the extent others find this useful and come to them for help. This generates respect for SMEs, as well as some degree of power, job security and sometimes fear. Despite the complaints from SMEs, they seem to enjoy these psychological rewards and are content to play their role for years, perhaps decades.
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