Are you a professional?

For Lukasz, Niels, Clifford, and Ray, and more, I offer this quote from “The Rickover Effect,”

Traditionally, the professional man follows certain tacit or explicit rules of conduct which vary in detail vary in detail as between different professions. Basic to all of them, however, are two rules: first, the obligation to reject lay direction in the performance of professional work—that is, the duty to maintain professional independence; and second, the obligation to use professional knowledge and techniques solely for the benefit of their clients. . .
Service ceases to be professional if it has in any way been dictated by the client or employer. The role of the professional man in society is to lend his special knowledge, his well-trained intellect, and his dispassionate habit of visualizing problems in terms of fundamental principles to whatever specific task is entrusted to him. Professional independence is not a special privilege but rather an inner necessity for the true professional man, and a safeguard for his employers and the general public. Without it, he negates everything that makes him a professional person and becomes at best a routine technician or hired hand, at worst a hack.

 

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