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..

12 comments:

Jegz.... said...

Hey Nithya,

So are you trying to say that who does the work with passion (or love) are not true professionals ?!?!?. Did I understand ur theory clearly :) ?

Nithya said...

Well, no, I meant the converse, have u made what you were passionate about your profession?? or just gave in to your professional needs?

Subbu S said...

I am bit confused myself :).
Had to Read your post twice. Are you trying to say converting one's passion in to profession is money for jam?.
How will you feel when you fail in somthing that your passionate about?
There are some jobs that needs passion and some that need professional discipline, say to be a investor you ve to be passionate and to be Day Trader you ve to be a disciplined professional.
& As you said being a software engineer is nothing to be passionate about but atleast it pays our bills

Kamini Santhanagopalan said...

Nee enna solla vara? Being a s/w engineer is nowhere close to your passion and its just about paying the bills? Hmmm...But, u know what Nithya...Life is just like that...Life sucks big time...Ellam "grass is greener on the other side" theory thaan....I'm sure a successful journalist will have a different passion...What say?

Neways, good writing :) Keep pouring in your thoughts!!

Shankar said...

is it confessions or confusions?

- Shankar.

bindhu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bindhu said...

hey Nithya.. converting passion to profession may help. But as u said, professional means expert and we depend on it for ur bread. And we need to learn the business involved with it too which may not sound interesting to most as we have to go by rules. So it can no longer be a passion (means u do not enjoy doing it).. So it may be upto the individual to pursue his/her passion as profession.
But we should also know whether we do it jus as a hobby or we are truely passionate...
What do u think?

Sunil said...

Hey Nithya.. really a thought provoking post.. :-) Well.. if u ask me U can never be a true professional unless u r really passionate abt what u r doing..:-) n as u mentioned most of the times our passions may not turn out to be our profession.. Well thats out Life is all abt..n U hav to accept it.. What say?? :-)

Joe said...

Profession is something you do for living. Whether you like it or not is an other issue. Even art is a profession. For example Jane Austin, who wrote exclusively about love and marriage in her stories never got married. If you are passionate about your profession, may be you can do that better. Other than that, passion is of no use

Vijay said...

We as indians don't pursue passion as profession... For example,In the u.s ppl don't go to engg school just because 1000 others are joining engg school. they do what they are passionate about.. let it be joining the military or arts or science... just that we are brought up in an environment where we think that if we don't follow the so called "money making" curriculum we are screwed!! I followed the same boat.. yeah i am making money but am i satisfied? do i feel complete/accomplished? No...

Hats off to the people in the western world where they allow the kids to pursue their passion let it be play basketball to NASA..

odyssey said...

Dilbert's statement

If your work was interesting, why would they pay you to do it

But seriously the moment i start feeling bored about my work, i pack my bag and go elsewhere

nash said...

I guess what I am going to write does'nt turns onto a blog itself.

On a first note, about your blog, the feeling I get is that you have penned down your opinion.
what I clearly get is your thoughts as how about having your passions as a profession,but what
I miss is the analysis or the facts behind your opinion.

For example, your quote on OHenry's, If I get you right, when you have passions turned into
professions you dont enjoy it anymore. i.e Passions must remain as passions and not profession.
BUT WHY???..Perhaps,one reason could be that it turns out to be a burden, because of the redundancy. Passions are things where you
put in your energy and where your creativity is at its high. When you have your passions as a
profession, your creativity is under pressure due to the burdens of expectations. This is
where it gets frustrating. Could be a reason...

Once you are able to have an analysis of finding out why, probably passions can still be profession :-)

so how about having an analysis of the fact thoroughly..

Anyway, we will discuss in detail...