“It shouldn’t take you that long…”

Not too long ago I wrote an entry here about the uninformed critic who does not have your level of expertise but speaks with the condescension and hubris of a man with a thousand levels greater expertise than you.

It seems to me that the little phrase “It shouldn’t take you that long…” carries some similar gusto. It has this air of patronizing belittlement that I find bizarre.

Partially it seems bizarre because I think that some people do offer it as a genuine pseudo-compliment when asking for a favor, while many others say it to fill that awkward dead silence after they ask for a favor, and still others use it as a way to try to manipulate you and make themselves feel good about stepping over the line and taking spare time that you would have otherwise used for something you preferred to do.

But like the uninformed critic, often the person throwing this set of words in your direction doesn’t understand the time that it actually does take to fulfill the task they’re asking of you.

What may seem like a quick five-minute thing may actually be an undertaking that takes an hour or more.

It’s one of those phrases that I’ve tried to stop using altogether. I don’t know how long it will take you. I do value your time and even if it only takes five minutes, I’m asking for five minutes of your life. Also, if it’s such an easy thing, I should probably take a crack at it myself and if I can’t solve it then I have even greater respect for the time and effort you spend to correct the problem.

That’s all for today. Just a bit of a rant, I suppose based on a recent conversation and a pattern of behavior I’ve come to see over my past 10 years in the design and photography industry.