A big part of the consulting business is reminding people of what they already know. Of course, your consulting career will be rather short if you do not develop kind ways of doing this. No one wants to pay to be nagged at. Why did I bring this up right after detailing the steps to your “gear guru” merit badge? Because you won’t reach the top of Gear Mountain if you have to keep back tracking to check the trail markers!
I have posted before about the stern taskmaster who taught me to be a detail draftsman. He insisted every line, note, and marking on a drawing be neat, legible, consistent, and based upon a very good “checkable” basis. He did not suffer fools gladly and many “students” did not last more than a day or two because they just couldn’t remember his rules. My teachers in the Milwaukee Public School System were sticklers for taking good notes; I wrote down what he told me and used those notes to pre-check my work before submitting it for The Master’s review.
This eliminated most of the mental beat-downs and afforded him more opportunity to teach me the subtleties of machine design. That notebook grew over the years into a rather bulky, four-inch-thick binder one of my understudies dubbed The Book of Knowledge. I imagine he was mocking me for reminding him that the answer to his question was “in the book,” but I took it as a compliment.
You will also find it comforting to have your reference material in a familiar location with explanatory notes in your own handwriting. Mine is old-school paper with quick reference tabs, but some of my students have scanned their “collections” into their laptops or on to a thumbnail drive. Format doesn’t matter so much as ease of access; I like being able to have the notes out while working on my computer.
Yes, you can always find stuff on the Internet or in the Gear Technology online archives. But will the site you looked at last time get revised or taken down? Will you have Internet access when that critical question comes up in front of the boss? Do yourself a huge favor and start your own Book of Gear Knowledge right away.
And add to it as you learn new things.