According to wikipedia “A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee”.
A more exhaustive definition in the same wikipedia article contains words like “expert”, “specialized knowledge”, “excellent skills”, “master in a specific field”.
In my long carreer and in my non-work time I saw (and still see) a lot of “professionals” who only meet the first line of this blog post : they are paid for what they do, but they are far from doing what they are supposed tot do, or delivering the quality you could expect from a real professional.
Some real life examples ?
- a cobol programmer (a hired consultant) who started the job by taking a 2-weeks vacation to learn his first cobol syntax
- a mason who had never heard of using a brick that was cut in 2 thirds. He only knew whole and half bricks.
- an orthopedist (with a good reputation !) who erroneously concluded that I had a whiplash while all I had was a tendinitis in the upper arm.
- bankers all over the world caused bankruptcy of their enterprises by neglecting the most basic asset-liabilities balance rules.
My own definition of professional : ” someone who wants to get paid for his work or his time”. The most difficult part for the one who has to pay is to find out whether that so-called professional is worth the money.