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#91634 01/12/03 02:44 PM
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as some of you may know I am a biologist and I work as a Research Fellow. I always have difficulties filling questionnaires where I asked to define my occupation. AFAIK "a professional" means a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher. I am a doctor but not medical doctor. My qualifications include "teacher of biology and chemistry" but I do not teach I work in a laboratory.
Am I a professional ?



#91635 01/12/03 03:40 PM
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Dear Vika: You are very much a professional. You have diplomas to prove you are not just
an amateur or dilettante. Some people use "professional" to mean that they earn a living
from some skill, as an athlete who gets paid for performing.


#91636 01/12/03 04:22 PM
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Dear Vika: You are very much not a Professional. Not with a Capital T you're not. If you call yourself a Professional what would Doctors, Lawyers, and Educators call themselves? You and wwh are not pompous, therefore you and wwh are not Professionals and no amount of calling you such will make you so. Sorry.


#91637 01/12/03 04:51 PM
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Dear milum: There are undoubtedly pompous professionals. I have known many really
down to earth professional athletes. Your compliment to Vika is too left handed.


#91638 01/12/03 05:41 PM
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Dear wwh:

My "compliment" to you and Vika resents being called Left-handed.

The word "professional" is a useful term that functions well when describing the expertise, the experience, or the dedication of knowledgeable individuals, but when used self-discriptively by a group that has simply been trained, i.e., doctors, lawyers, etc., it mostly serves to strive for an air of class distinction that is unearned.

But heck, I quibble. I concede the point.


#91639 01/12/03 05:54 PM
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I worked as a professional musician for... a few years. The term fits as I made, although quite meager, a *living doing it.

Quibbling? Sounds more like waffling!


#91640 01/12/03 06:11 PM
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Vika -

The issue has been hinted at in these threads before, though not in precisely the example you give.

I would start you with Justice Louis Brandies' definition of a profession:
"The characteristics of a profession are that it seeks to
--preserve a body of knowledge
--expand the body of knowledge
--teach the body of knowledge
--set standards of practice and enforce them
and
--value performance over reward"

and now you can decide the issue for yourself, with some authority to support you.

Teaching does not have to mean standing up in front of a class of students; as a physician I don't do that either. But I do try to teach my contemporaries if I have knowledge they may not.

There may be some other relevant (and irrelevant) thoughts on the subject at
http://wordsmith.org/board/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=89463 and the rest of the thread.


#91641 01/12/03 06:54 PM
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Dear wofahulicodoc: A Daniel come to judgment! Your quote is most pertinent. I also like:
this quote
For centuries, educators have cited Chaucer’s description of his scholar as the ultimate
motto of our profession: “Gladly would he learn and gladly teach."




#91642 01/12/03 07:03 PM
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It is clear that doing a good job is inherently rewarding, but that isn't the issue. "Value performance over reward" is highly questionable as contingent, even as monitary reward is limited. Artistic rewards can be very personal even if many of them come from performance. The definition of "rewards" just ain't the same for the same reasons. I'll suggest that a majority of life wouldn't be doing whatever it is that they do without the *personal rewards.

Is this a "chicken and the egg" question... are we unneccessarily forcing our own capacity to ask a question where the answer is "self-evident"?


#91643 01/13/03 01:53 AM
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This question arises in the world o' sport, does it not? (think that's been hinted at here) - After all, there are professional athletes and amateur athletes. Methinks the line has been blurred by the fact that so many "amateur" athletes receive monetary recompense of one sort or another (grants, scholarships, sponsorships) for their training....

I was musing on this with regard to artists' models. Some of us are "professionals" - we are paid to do the work and we do it well - and we won't work unless we are paid. Some are clearly "amateurs" in that they offer to work "for prints" or "for experience." REAL models (us professionals!) avoid such types like the plague. I made the mistake of working with one once and he was quite plainly only working the gig for titillation. (And he was a lousy model.)

For me, the term "professional" includes, among its many implications, a high degree of respect for the work being done and a knowledge of that work's worth. Applying these criteria to modelling, then, I would say that even some models who are paid to do the work, are NOT professional about it. "Professional" also incorporates a degree of dignity, does it not? - not stuffiness, but dignity....


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