5/20/09 - Amateur Radio Clubs: Improper etiquette of asking for professional advice

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kg7hq Wed, 05/20/2009 - 02:19

The above titled situation happens all the time in our clubs and organizations.

As time passes, we gain friendships from individuals that
hold professional credentials or qualifications. Because there are friendships involved, we have a tendency to look passed good etiquette and ask for that "professional insight".

When I witness this happening, I instantly recall those medical or legal
ads we see/hear so commonly on our media. Something to the effect of... "not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice".

These types of statements are placed in to protect the individuals responsible for that product and/or service. So, right now is a great time to mention that I do not have any professional training in legal or medical advice. So this article is being typed to give a perspective in this area as it relates to our friendships and acquaintances within our organizations.

The questions on hand, as I see it, is "What are the consequences if we act based on the question(s) answered?" and "What happens to the professional if this leads to an unforeseen consequence?"

An individual that holds a professional credential like a Lawyer or Doctor is always considered just that. He or she cannot just take off the professional hat for a few moments to answer an impromptu question. This is exactly what we are asking of them when we approach them with a question that relates to their profession. The Professional at that time should decline answering as this could place him/her or yourself into a
potentially bad situation. If they do answer the question, the focus then shifts to an examination of question itself and how it could result in an "implied relationship".

This relationship could then be used as legal basis to sanction the professional thus impacting his or her standing and livelihood. This narrows circumstance in which it is
objectively reasonable for the individual to believe that a relationship has formed and has actually relied on the advice given.

So, even if you are friends with an individual with professional credentials, you should follow good etiquette by not asking for advice that relates to their credentials. If you or your club are in need of such advice, go out and retain a professional as this will cover all parties involved.

Within our Amateur Radio clubs and organizations priceless friendships are forged. Following good etiquette will maintain them into life long relationships.