Are you a Pro?
First off my apologies for not having a blog entry last week. Players fuck up too.
That being said…
Professionalism is so cheap but so few are willing to pay for it.
In America using the word professional to describe someone is setting them apart from most of humanity by default. When someone says “I play basketball” then some else says “Yeah, but he’s a professional basketball player” it’s like talking about two completely different things. Even in the NFL you have professional players then you have All-Pro players, the most elite of the elite. That word pro has so much gravitas because most people honor and respect the amount of talent, effort, and time it takes to be a professional athlete. There are literally millions of athletes in this world, but probably less than 10,000 that can say they are currently professional athletes.
So what is a professional athlete? According to Encyclopedia.com it is the following:
Professional athletes play sports for a living. They have achieved top standing in their chosen field through years of training. Professional athletes are people with natural talent, stamina, and competitive drive. They have excellent reflexes and coordination and are well disciplined when it comes to rigorous practice and training.
These people are more respected (and mostly compensated far and above what most of us make) for the capability to achieve feats few of us can. But why? It is because of their years of performance, competitive drive, and (in most cases) discipline and dedication to training. That discipline and drive are respected in society in the arenas outside of sports. Its why Doctors, Lawyers, Stock Brokers, and Scientists are so respected. Most athletes are literally genetic outliers. For most people, no amount of dedication, competitive drive, or training will ever get them to the NFL field or the NBA court. They just didn’t have the genetic gifts to start with. But a Doctor, a Lawyer, even a scientist? The barrier of entry is much lower and there are also hundreds of thousands of more of them. All that is required is base intelligence and dedication. Most people can be a lawyer or stock broker if they put their mind to it. The task only seems daunting because being a doctor in this country requires a minimum of 12 years of post-High School education and for a lawyer takes at least 8 years after High School. The truth of the matter is most people don’t desire anything enough to dedicate their lives to it for 8 to 12+ years. Being a professional in these fields is a requirement. The other point of respect is licensure. Legally you can’t practice law, be considered a medical doctor, or trade stocks without demonstrating proof of your skillset in the form of a license. But most of us aren’t Doctors, Lawyers, or Stock Brokers so what makes us professionals?
IMO a professional is anyone someone that is compensated in their field of endeavor and practices professionalism while doing it, doesn’t matter if it’s a ditch digger or a 6 time world champion. So what is professionalism? Professionalism is showing up on time. Professionalism is respecting the needs of the client. Professionalism is working even when no one is watching. Professionalism is doing what you said you were going to do. Professionalism is paying someone on time and by the same token being compensated for the services you provide. Funny thing about professionalism is that it’s so expected that no one really notices it until it isn’t there. No one says “Good job showing up on time every day, Rob!” But watch that ass get fired when you show up late too much. I heard a wise man say “You can be likeable, on time, or really good at your job, but you have to be two outta three to keep a job and all three to get promoted.” I agree. If you’re an asshole at work and your late, you’re probably also unemployed a lot. It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, people will only deal with a diva for so long before they are either plotting on your demise or become equally toxic to be around. At the same time I’ve seen people keep a job 20 years that suck, but are well mannered and show up on time.
When I look at what professionalism is I see a blueprint for a successful life. Too many of us (myself included) only see professionalism as something to be applied when money is involved. We don’t apply professionalism to our wives and husbands, to our friends, to ourselves. If you’re like me then you believe a job is to pay the bills. But those bills are only worth having because of the people in your life (as well as yourself). I doubt dead people care if the lights stay on or if that car gets repo’d. Too often our jobs get the best of us and our friends and family get the scraps. The reality is the moment you are born you have been give your first and most important client. Yourself. You have to show up for you, you have to deliver what you said you would for yourself. You have to bring that competitive fire to everything you want in life.
And if you’re not willing to be a professional with yourself, then should you expect it from anyone else?
- Rob Immortal
Rob Immortal prides himself on being the 6'4" Black, loc'd, and Bearded version of one Daria Morgendoffer. The last male heir of a family of Misanthropic Bamas, he enjoys Oreos, exotic dancers, fine leather goods, and anything related to black empowerment. Entering the first stage of his evolution into a millennial curmudgeon he writes on observations as a black married man.