I live in a small town world, and much of the community's important work is done by amateurs. Most of our major local organizations are run by amateurs, and our elected officials are all folks with a real day job-- there's no real money in being a professional politician on the local level.
I have been one kind of amateur or another most of my adult life. My actual training is to be a high school English teachers, but I have been a radio dj, church choir director, technical stage manager, band director, graphic artist, photographer, musician, all-around theater guy, and writer/fake journalist. I always knew I would be a generalist, so I grabbed some coursework here and there to back some of these jobs up, but mostly in these pursuits I am an untrained amateur.
My saving(ish) grace is that I know what I don't know, and I know there are professionals out there from whom I can learn. Before I take on a responsibility, I do my homework, read up, study up, talk to people who are pros, watch them work and learn from them. And in a community like mine, there are plenty of people like me around. We backstop each other as well.
But there are other types of amateurs in the world. More problematic. More dangerous.
It is one thing to know you lack the professional expertise, the trained knowledge for a particular field. It is another thing to believe that no such body of knowledge exists, or that any such knowledge and expertise is unimportant as long you are, you know, really interested in whatever field we're talking about.
These are the folks who figure that since they occasionally eat at a restaurant, and they like food, well, they're qualified to open a restaurant. These are the folks who figure that public speaking is just standing up and flapping your gums for a while (usually a really long while). These are the CURMUDGUCATION: Dangerous Amateurs: