I'm looking for a means of expressing a type of individual (or the burden of dealing with a type of individual) that is hired/outsourced but is not autonomous, initiated nor can they deliver anything beyond what one commands them to do.

I'm trying to draw a distinction between the following two extremes:

  • a drone with no experience beyond the limited task for which they're hired.
  • a consultant that can boast direct business experience at a high capacity.

E.g. Describing the difference in the service experience between an average domestic painter and a prolific interior design consultant.

E.g. Describing the difference between a web designer that claims to offer marketing (but in actuality offers little more than remedial S.E.O. measures) and a bona fide marketing specialist.

  • You started to lose me at "burden of." Could you re-write your question, please, with very short, simple sentence structures? Your writing style is so unusual, I need simplicity to try to follow what you're trying to say. – aparente001 Aug 13 '15 at 21:53
  • @aparente001 Apologies if my question reads incoherently or ambiguously. Please refer to my edit and advise if further refining or extrapolation is required. – Clarus Dignus Aug 13 '15 at 22:14
  • Thanks for the edit. It's a bit better! But the two things are completely different -- (a) the person who's the drone, doing the drudge work; and (b) the poor suffering snob who has to deal with with the drone. --- It might also help to add another example, since the interior design consultant often never puts on a smock or lifts a paint brush. – aparente001 Aug 13 '15 at 22:19
  • @aparente001 I've provided the requested second example. – Clarus Dignus Aug 13 '15 at 22:25
  • Thank you, the new example did it -- I think I get your idea now. – aparente001 Aug 13 '15 at 22:38

Answering the 'dealing with the two extremes' question:

[You should] talk to the organ grinder, not the monkey.

Its meaning is “talk to the decision-maker, don’t waste your time with someone who just works there”. {WordReference.com}

(and by extension, consult a professional, not a cowboy).

  • That's not without a stroke of brilliance. Admittedly, I had to perform a browser search to learn what "organ grinder" infers and how the term correlated to "monkey" but now that I understand the context, it's exactly along the the lines of the phrasing I'm trying to achieve. – Clarus Dignus Aug 13 '15 at 22:29
  • Furthermore, your phrasing immediately reminded me of a quote from the upcoming/current Steve Jobs movie trailer: "Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra." With respects to your suggestion, it can be paraphrased as "Talk to the conductor, not the musician". – Clarus Dignus Aug 13 '15 at 22:37

I'm not going to answer the part about the burden of dealing with drones -- that would make an interesting separate question, though!

I must credit my spouse with this distinction:

tool maker vs. tool user

  • +1 Compelling and concise. If +2s were possible, I'd equally reward your spouse's ingenuity. I'm opting however, for Edwin's answer on the basis that the hierachiral disparity between his two compartive roles is lesser than that of yours and therefore more in accordance with what I required. Thanks no less. It's probable that I will use both answers in my phrasing but ultimately, can only select one answer, which I have, by merit of my marginal preference. – Clarus Dignus Aug 13 '15 at 22:43

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