March 1st, 2011

Roger facepalm

You can't be serious.

Some observations from a focus group discussion for People's Association with "working professionals" that I attended a couple of hours ago:

1. What is a "professional"? The traditionalist in me strongly argues that you are a professional only if you have a medicine/law/accounting degree - a professional degree. Does working in a bank make you a professional? Does running your own business make you one? It simply means that you're a banker and a businessman with a degree in finance and business, or whatever. It makes you an executive, but does it make you a profesional?

2. Assuming my first argument is accepted, I cannot help but wonder where these people get off thinking that they're so much better than the average "non-professional" human being, so much so that they wouldn't deign to mix with these people in a social setting. If I thought lawyers were self-important arrogant bastards, tonight I learned that this particular affliction doesn't affect lawyers alone.

3. If my argument in point 1 is rejected, my point in 2 remains: so what if you run your own business? So what if you work in a bank? So what if you are a goddamn lawyer? Why does your job make you any more, or less, special or important or worthy of privilege and luxury than someone else who is as gainfully employed as you, but who works in a less glamorous job?

I don't profess to be the most humble or patient person around, and I will readily admit that I have my own shameful moments where I buy into my own hype and place myself on a pedestal above the rest of the population. But it's a fundamental point: after hanging around lawyers all day long, I don't fucking want to continue mixing with lawyers when I'm out of the office. Along a similar vein, after hanging around self-important assholes all day long, I have no interest in hanging around self-important assholes who proclaim to be "working professionals" after I'm off work. If I pursue social activities in my free time, a peripheral objective would probably be to meet people outside of my comfort zone and mundane social circle.

More importantly, however, as someone currently working as a lawyer, my professional degree and qualification speak louder than your non-professional one. If I can't stand the self-importance and hubris that plague many people in my current profession and try my hardest to stay away from these vices, then I must say I have no tolerance for people who don't even have a professional degree and qualification to thumb their noses at others simply because of what they do.

I'm aware of the inherent nose-thumbing in my preceding paragraph, but do indulge me: I remind myself to be a decent human being whenever I can, and I worked hard for this degree and qualification, so please do allow me some self-indulgence when I'm trying to make a broader point. Thanks.

Just for the record, in case people are confused: I do not look down on bankers and businessmen (I can't - my boyfriend is a businessman and I respect what he does; sometimes I'm even envious because he speaks about it with the passion that I feel inversely towards my job). I just don't think they are "professionals" in the strict sense of the word. That said, I suppose, much like the word "diva", the precise meaning of the word has been watered down in recent times and it's now used to describe occupations that are executive in nature.

Okay, screw that - that didn't make any sense to me. Ergo, I maintain my initial objection.