On being a professional

Below is a stream of consciousness I jotted on design professionalism…

Good intentions are the hopes of amateurs. Principled leadership is the way of the professional.

The amateur is hired to carry the buckets.  The professional is hired to plug the hole. 

A professional must abide by a higher standard.   

Stop hoping and start doing!  Good intentions are for those who hope they will be allowed to do good work. Professionals take responsibility and provide leadership.  

Professionalism is about using wisdom in making decisions. You can’t get wisdom without learning and growing. So start. Never stop.

Excuses are for those who fail to accept responsibility.  

There is a tension that the unprofessional tolerates.  Unspoken expectations, missing deadlines, dissatisfaction with finished work… The unprofessional would rather deal with these failures and allow the client to lead them. The professional leads. 

The professional elevates.  The professional makes things better.  The unprofessional follows. 

The unprofessional offers no insight.  The unprofessional only gets hired to do what they are told.  

The professional gets hired to make things better. 

There is a tension of unspoken expectations that let’s you know that you aren’t behaving professionally.  There is a dissatisfaction with the finished product that unprofessionalism provides.  There is an inaction and settling for what a client allows that unprofessionals fall into.   

There is an accountability that we, the designer, must bear for working with client who don’t treat projects professionally and bring us down with them. 

If we are pros, we possess a needed expertise.  This is why we are hired. 

If a client will not let us do what they hired us to do–they are not a client. 

Clients must be qualified, projects must be qualified.  We must be qualified. Leave doing things poorly to amateurs.