And I really ain’t bothered what you think of me
‘Cause all I want of you is just to let me be
I don’t care anymore
– Phil Collins “I Don’t Care Anymore”
The very first cassette tape I bought with my own money was Genesis, “Genesis,” released in October 1983. I bought albums and 45s before, but this new media changed the game. It meant I had musical autonomy. While my parents listened to the “Urban Cowboy” soundtrack or Elvis (unfortunately not Costello) in the car, I could pop something in my Sony Walkman and tune out that noise. I didn’t care anymore what they said, or listened to. When I started driving my Grandmother’s hand-me-down 1972 Dodge Dart the next year, the first thing I did was install a cassette deck, replacing the stock AM radio. The deck and speakers cost more than the car. While it was not “perfection,” I got by with that “level of performance,” even though my friends had cooler, faster, flashier cars. And my air drumming on the above Collins track was spot on.
I know we all got “better things to do with our time,” so before you don’t care anymore, allow me to turn to the point of this article: Care. Of course design professionals care about their good works. That care permeates everything they do. But, no matter how much they care, let’s face it, things happen that prevents the outcomes hoped for. It is not realistic, even in this day and age of high-tech, for clients to expect perfection. When design professionals are judged at the end of the job, the test used to determine their ultimate liability is “the standard of care.” So, I return to the question above, can we, nay should we care any more? The answer lies in an understanding of the concept of standard of care and its origins.