Day 23, 738: Finding Professionals Everywhere.
Lately I’ve been hearing about all sorts of professionals and it makes me happy. Turns out there are professionals in all walks of life. It’s hard to discern what type of pro they are — white, blue or pink colored — but they are professionals nonetheless.
Here are a few that didn’t seem to exist when I was younger — pro porn stars, pro cheerleaders, pro twirlers, pro cheesemongers. When I was younger you either were something or you weren’t. There was no professionalism about it. The trades that had professionals had apprentices and trade programs to let people learn an expertise.
To some degree I’ve been a professional since my first job out of college, but that was just a generic term to mean I had a white color office job. In that job I was part of a geriatric health consulting team. I had an affiliated degree in some of those terms, but I was new to the game and left the game after a few years at that firm.
For my second job, I was in employee communications. Communications was my desired profession so that was a leap in the right direction. I was getting paid for doing what I loved. That meant I was a professional communicator. I joined professional communications organizations and was having a high time of it. I went from that fortunate Fortune 500 position to a small trade association where I rose through the Communications ranks to Editor-in-Chief and Communications Director. Then something odd happened. I shifted into Marketing.
I’m not sure I was conscious that it was a career change. I needed someone to sell all the material my department and team were producing and no one knew how to do it effectively because they didn’t understand the material. Nevertheless, from that day forward I’ve been in marketing, now for a few decades.
It’s important to admit that I didn’t start out as a marketing professional because I had no clue what I was doing. I had to study up with little guidance other than book learning.
Sometime later, I got a job in Marketing where I got a mentor. He was an older fellow who specialized in outdoor (now called out-of-home) advertising. That’s code for billboards, bus signs and even signs in sports stadiums. He was a true professional at his end of the business. There was nothing he didn’t know and he generously trained me on much of it.
Today, I’m willing to define myself as a marketing professional. I know more about the field than I ever did up to now, but the field keeps changing, so I still need training. There’s tons I don’t know, and tons more I know a little about, but don’t have time to master. So, I’m not a master; just a professional.
Other Pros to Know
Bailey Davis is a professional cheerleader. Author of the new #leveltheplayingfield, she wants the NFL to recognize that team cheer squads are as much a professional athlete as the football players on the field.
Rory Stamp of Vermont is a professional cheesemonger. He won the winter 2018 international cheesemonger invitational and has been studying cheese since high school. It just goes to show you never know what early passion will turn into a profession over any academics or trade school training.
My youngest daughter was passionate about twirling. For her, it was an amazing, cherished experienced that resulted in national travel, competitions, team play and learning about the exhilaration of success and agony of defeat. But for one twirler in the competitions, the goal was to go on to Cirque du Soleil and she did! She’s now a professional twirler. Here’s a link not to her, but a Japanese twirler who also made it to Cirque.
Turns out you can be a professional anything. As the cheesemongers defined it, professionalism takes expertise of technical skills, tireless commitment, and comprehensive knowledge. That sound about right. Regardless of your craft, if you can craft out a life doing it for a living, you can make it into a profession!
Daily Focus on Gun Sanity: There are professionals in the gun industry. They are called marksmen and sharpshooters and are highly valued for their skills. It’s important to note it’s the shooter not the gun that is valued for his/her expertise. Perhaps in the gun debate, what we need are more true professionals, and more focus on the people using the tools rather than the tools themselves. If we only allowed professionals the professional grade tools based on their years of training to handle them, we’d be honoring the gun much more than by allowing free access by any amateur or hobbyist.