Nov 10, 2007

Confessions of a Professional!!!

I'd always held the opinion that for everyday contentment, one needs to work on something that one enjoys doing most..so that it dosen't seem like "work". "Pursue your passion, and get paid for it"...I jabbered in school. "Convert your passion to profession", I blabbered in college.

Let me try to define profession and passion here. There are a lot of web-definitions for a "professional" - Here are a few interesting ones:
1. The Devil's Advocate definition: A professional is one who is supposed to know everything about something and nothing about the remaining.
2. The Wiki definition: A professional is a worker required to possess a large body of knowledge about something derived from extensive formal academic study.
3. The one I like most: One that is carried out for money, especially as a livelihood.

I'm sure all of we, professionals would fit into one or more of the above definitions to justify our "professional ethics".

And passion - Not many unfathomable definitions. I've a few words though - Love, Desire, Ardent Enthusiasm. I'd consider passion to be synonymous with one's heart. Anything that one's heart leaps at the thought of doing.

Given these "mostly acceptable" definitions, can you try answering the next inevitable question that ensues - "Have you made your passion your profession"?

If you want to poke your finger at me questiongly, here I go - Most of my passions dwindle and burgeon non-linearly with time, and my profession is what seemed most profitable and a little passion-driven on the day of reckoning. And here I am - a "Professional Programmer". That's a politically (or professionally) correct answer - Isn't it??

I had a lot of ideas for "passion-to-be-converted-to-professions" in school. One that I always glibbed a lot to friends is "writing/reading-to-be-converted-to-journalism". I was fond of books and the smell that worms produce on them and wanted to be associated with them eternally. Deep down the corner of my little heart, I did have a regret until recently that I didn't translate that passion into a profession. Until recently, until, I read this short-story by OHenry: Confessions of a Humorist. I'd recommend everyone who has such "extra-professional" desires or affairs to read that great piece of literature.

For those who haven't got serenity to go through the pages, herez a brief synopsis: A humorist discovers that he is a good-humorist as long as humor is not his bread-winning profession. When professional humor is forced on him, it fails him. He snipes on his wife and kids in search of humor fruitlessly and eventually makes life miserable for himself. At the end, alls well that ends well..he takes up a more mundane profession, and humor comes back naturally to him..

Assuming that this theory is true for five-out-of-ten average people according to the law of averages, does it imply that we have to take up mundane jobs in order to thrive our passions?? I gave a lot of thought to this and came up with this little pointer - There is a bit of art and science in everyone. (And to distinguish art from science, heres a quick definition - "Art is I, Science is We".)
The humor skills of the hero in the story or the my reading/writing skills(??) are but art. Art cannot be forced, and hence in my humble opinion, dosen't qualify to be a bread-winner.Science is more indulgent, and so more than certifies to be one "profitable budding profession".

So what about the "Professional artistes"???? Well, I've stirred a hornet's nest in this post, do shoot your ideas and arguments in favor and against..