Monday, July 7, 2008

What is a professional?

A trucker recently called in and said the dangdest thing.

He objected to folks referring to truckers as professionals. His reason? He said he was taught that a professional knows everything, and since he and other truckers don’t know everything, then they aren’t “professional” drivers.

First off, I’ve never heard the word “professional” defined as someone who knows everything.

In fact, if you use that definition, there’s no such thing as a professional. As that trucker pointed out himself, no one knows everything.

Here are a few definitions I found looking at various dictionaries.

One says a professional is someone who “follows an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain, as in a professional builder.”

Well, truckers definitely use trucking as a livelihood, and hopefully, they’re gaining a living out of it.

Another says a professional is “a person who belongs to one of the professions.” It then goes on to define profession as “an occupation that requires considerable training.” And, of course, they mean require not in the legal sense, but in the sense of skills you need to have in order to be able to perform the job.

I think trucking qualifies. And I would add that there’s a difference between a professional trucker and steering wheel holder.

As to what that difference is … well, that’s a separate discussion. But suffice it to say, I would bet that the trucker who called that thought in to us meets the definition of professional, as would most truckers I’ve met.