There’s No “Fun” in “Professional”

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Last week I received official confirmation of passing the second and final exam to obtain a professional designation. I hope to use this newly attained qualification to get into a better position more suited to my potential, but there are other sides of this that go beyond a job description. The key word here is “professional”.

Being a professional means taking things seriously. I wasn’t raised to take things at face, because it’s never so simple and there’s no absolute, concrete inevitability of the systems and institutions in society that make it, its economy, and its jobs, what they are. I refuse to drop my sense of humour and my critical thinking skills that see right through much of the modern capitalist market. I also claim full ownership over my free time, so I plan to limit the things I do with the letters of this designation attached to my name. I do this to protect my individual right to make poop jokes.

There are parts of this field that I can take seriously – about respect and treating others as humans with open minds and a willingness to understand their circumstances, for example –and parts where I’m happy to play a role in what’s not a game but is perhaps seen as an on-the-job puzzle. I can apply problem solving skills with mental tools that are not poop jokes, and I’m keen on suggesting improvements. I’ve built up a whole new persona that is based on actively doing stuff, which was not there before.

What will be difficult for me beyond the rough edges of my otherwise sophisticated personality will be the requirement to talk about how important my profession is. I have already been asked that many times at parties by people who primarily know me by what my mother has taken creative liberties to tell. Self-importance is not a strong area for me, and projecting that to a field that is struggling to reach certain levels of respect and recognition is even more difficult. And it’s mostly being done by people talking to other people in the field, talking about how mutually they themselves are so important, not getting anywhere sending out a message.

I’m diving into this too deep, with the cerebral pick-apart of what this change in my life means. I’m not in a suiting position and I don’t have as much experience as so many other people do, and I’m not sure if that gives me a better starting perspective that can last as I progress in this field, or if I will sniff the glue and believe the same things the rest of the professional body believes. Watch out. This could include holding my off-work behaviour to still professional standards. This could kill the poop joke.

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