Being a Professional

What does being a professional mean?

Seth Godin on being a professional (Akimbo episode 2020 May 6 "The Future of the Library") "The word professional doesn't mean someone got paid to do it. My definition is this: A professional shows up to do their best work, even when they don't feel like it. A professional does the hard work of getting better at their craft. A professional is open to feedback so their craft can get better. None of those things apply to amateurs.

When we hire someone to do work, whether they're a volunteer fireman, a musician or a doctor, we are hoping for a professional. Because professionals don't bring authenticity, professionals bring commitment and consistency to the table.

The volunteer firemen in my town are truly professionals. We count on them to save our lives and they don't let us down. It's true that they don't get paid but thats OK, because getting paid isn't what makes you a professional. What makes you a professional is the posture and enrollment that you bring to your work."

In my book these are words to live by. Seth is amazing at distilling a concept into concise and powerful phrases, and that is why I consistently listen to his podcast and (less frequently) read his blog.

Even if we don't have paid work to do, we do the work of being a professional anyway. We learn and we improve our craft. However, this is an entirely separate discussion to pricing and getting paid. We should definitely know our worth and be conscious of when we are helping a client solve a problem.

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