Professional? There’s your trouble.

This is professional
This is professional

We’ve all met them. Paranoid, overbearing micromanagers who become so obsessed with controlling the reception of their message that they forget to check the content – not just of their message, but of their souls.

A colleague is ticked off for “unprofessional” comments, overheard by someone who shouldn’t have been listening. Hey, we’re talking about you, we’re not talking to you.

I read something a while ago about the problem of professionalism. I’d link to it if I could find it. You know, the professional people who sit in front of parliamentary committees and lie their faces off. The professional footballers who feign injury in order to gain an unfair advantage. The professional cyclists who dope their blood. The professional MPs who robbed us for chocolate biscuit money and holiday homes on the taxpayer. The professional doctors who conceal evidence of negligence in order to avoid paying compensation. The professional doctors who lied to bereaved parents about what had happened to their dead baby’s remains. The professionals in the media who knew about or suspected sexual assaults and child abuse and who said nothing.

When someone wants you to be professional, they mean they want you to get on with the shit task you’ve been given, for the shit money you’re being paid, without complaining about it. Unreasonable hours, unpaid overtime, no lunch break for an entire year? You’re a pro.

Professionals are the ones who lie for a living. Who cheat on their taxes, conceal the evidence, invent qualifications and experience they don’t have. They’re the ones who have no conscience about making people ill with stress, who think only about their own career prospects while complaining that you are not a team player.

An amateur does it for the love of it. A professional cheats old ladies out of their pensions, thinks ethics and laws are for other people, and shouts louder to drown out dissenting voices.

Somewhere in the middle is where I want to be.


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