Streamline - Summer 2013 - (Page 45)

ThrowingMyLoop BY MICHAEL JOHNSON How to be “Professional” wE hEAR ThAT word constantly. From the first minute we enter the workplace, we hear, “Be profes- sional.” What does that really mean? If we asked 10 people to define the word, I bet we would get eleven different answers. Here’s the dictionary’s definition: Professionalism. It’s not what you are. It’s who you are...and how you live. Professional: a person paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and complete them for a fee. Traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, engineers, clergymen, architects, and commissioned military officers. Today the term is applied to nurses, accountants, educators, engineers, scientists, technology experts, social workers, artists, actors, golfers and cowboys who rodeo full time. And there is a final paragraph: “Due to the personal and confidential nature of many professional services – thus the necessity to place a great deal of trust in them – most “professionals” are subject to codes of conduct resulting in strict moral and ethical obligations.” Man, that sounds good. From definitions like those above (and our own internal sense of what a professional really is) we come to believe that whether a person is “professional” depends on what they do or what line of work they are in. The job title determines if a person is stamped “professional.” Right? Wrong. All of the above is absolutely worthless. (Sorry for having wasted your time.) None of those words help us determine if someone is truly professional – and that is a sad thing…and an important thing. During our years of formal education in high school and college, we come away from that experience assuming we know what “professional” means – and we never question that definition. It’s only later that we learn what the word really means. After becoming so old (so quickly, it seems now) and working for myself for a number of years, I have a completely different way of thinking about the entire subject. I wish I had thought about it a great deal more – and much sooner – in my life, because my teaching would have had more value for students, and Lord forgive me… I might have been a better person. Being professional has little to do with someone’s title. After all, we know of Wall Street bankers who must certainly have all sorts of codes of conduct and moral obligations – but how many do we know who actually live by them? And we can say the same for some doctors, lawyers, engineers and all the accountants who worked for Enron. Is a football player who head butts his wife a professional? Is a doctor who schedules unnecessary surgery a professional? Let’s say a building contractor (a professional building contractor) does half what he said he 45

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2013

From the President
From the Executive Director
Generators – Learning from the Past
Does the End Justify the Means?
Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet!
How is Serving on a Board of an Organization like Owning a Car?
Monitoring Master Meters
2013 Conference Highlights
OilClean from EcoSolutions Naturally Separates Oil from Water
Choosing a Rate Analyst
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Snug and Smug with Solar Power
Fresh Faces: Joey Fagan
Wastewater Math
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
Welcome New Members
Training Calendar
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Summer 2013