Cape Cod Times Viewpoint Columns by Chuck Carey

What is a Professional ?

 Everyone these days wants to think of themselves as a "professional". Only so many are. To wear a suit does not make one a professional. It's not just role playing behind the facade of a fancy office.

 Over the last 10 years, everyone jumped on the professional bandwagon. It seems like there's a trend to "out professionalize" the next guy. Once the word became fashionable, it really took over as everyone tried to use it to distinguish themselves from... everyone else. It's sometimes interpreted as a matter of equipment - as in "a real pro has all the latest tools". As if the goods made the difference. Perhaps the dress, the vehicle, the speech, the training or the place of birth defines the pro. Or maybe it's the haircut.

 There probably are those among us who believe that these things make the person. The better the suit, the fancier the tie....the better the school...the fancier the car. The accouterments of the material mind. We like to see these things in those we engage for an important service because it's easier to judge the cover than read the book, but are they the defining quality ? I'm not going to tell you what I think defines a professional until the end and I hope they put it on another page so you can't look quick.

 I've met people who raked my yard who were more professional than others who handled million dollar deals. Taxi drivers who outranked doctors in terms of quality. People of low station delivering noble standards. We all have. This is not a slur on anyone in particular, I'm talking about form vs. substance. One sometimes masquerades as the other. Sometimes both are present but not always, and not always in whom you would expect.

 Okay, Okay, here's the corny part: A professional doesn't care about him or herself, they care about you. Easy words to say, tough to live out on Monday morning. A pro is thinking above and beyond the paycheck, beyond the momentary issues and is focused on the long run, the issues of your life that are so hard to separate and deal with objectively . A professional can handle the intangibles that seem so complicated to us without becoming entangled in the emotions which so easily beset us in dealing with once in a lifetime events. But it's kind of like they operate on your blind spot without anesthesia, they can only do it if you let them.

 There's also a certain undefinable thing called heart that comes into play in a true professional and people can tell when the heart is present, and they call tell when it is not. Maybe it's time we dusted off a few corny old words like character, calling and sincerity.

 Atty. Thomas N. George defines the professional as follows: "It is the conscientious dedication to duty first, with the goal of successfully completing your mission while being fair and honorable throughout the process and treating both your client and opponent with respect for who they are".


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