In The Professional: Defining the New Standard of Excellence at Work, Subroto Bagchi aims to answer the question: what makes a professional?
By common definition, a professional is someone who possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to do a job—whether it’s a top degree from a prestigious university or simply years of on-the-job training.
But every day we see examples of so-called professionals who do more harm than good. However, all of these people had the qualities necessary to do their jobs well, but instead they chose to abuse and corrupt their professions for their own personal gain.
In this book the author describes how the very concept of what it means to be a professional must be reconsidered and enhanced to meet the challenges of the global economy. He considers the three fundamental characteristics of the true professional as:
• Being able to work without supervision,
• Able to certify the completion of any job or task, and
• Behaving with complete integrity at all times.
Then he goes farther than those three basic attributes of professionalism and shares some additional traits that comprise the professional. Those traits include:
• Being self-aware
• Is always ethical in all things
• Takes care of the mind, body and soul
• Prioritizes things and events to maximize value
• Takes a long term view over the entirety of one’s career
• Is able to evolve and embrace new challenges and adapts to change
• Is comfortable with things not trained for
• Understands the imperatives of the global economy
• Is culturally aware, connected and engages with people globally
We all need money to live but the author argues that there comes a point where professionals have to look beyond cash to a greater sense of meaning in their work. Making a difference to society, he says, is an often quoted goal that is really “false piety” and “empty desire”. Do something for your community or your profession, he suggests. Don’t worry about changing the world. Start small.
“Every professional’s footprint must be larger than his daytime job. Our professional identity goes well beyond the employment badge we wear at work.”
He takes the long view, looking at what a professional can bring to their profession and themselves through personal growth, above and beyond just seeing a profession as a way to fund retirement.
For the author, being a true professional goes beyond merely being paid. Instead, professionalism is a way of living, working and behaving that touches all areas of the individual’s personal and public life.
For me, the power of the book is how Subroto Bagchi redefines and the very meaning of what it means to be a true professional. Going far beyond mere job titles and basic principles.
This books is full of stories and wisdom from personal and workplace related experiences with a lesson to learn from each chapter. I highly recommend this books to anyone seeking an intelligent and ethics based guide to becoming a true professional in today’s globalized economy. Lastly the book is written in a fluent language, easy to read and organized in small chapters, therefore it’s very easy to read.
Bonus: Following is a reading of first and last chapter from the book, during launch of the book in the hands of Mr. Ratan Tata in Mumbai.