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Ergo Sum

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Being taken as a professional starts with playing the part.

UCLA Arts Department, April 1957
Photo: LIFE

The LIFE magazine photo archive has recently been made available on Google Images. Fabulous stuff is contained therein. Something that strikes me in particular is the sense of style that is portrayed by members of various professions for the majority of the time and in the majority of professions represented.

These images bear some consideration. It has been my experience that many of our fellow citizens are greatly concerned with the prestige, income, and other benefits of their employment relative to others. Teachers, we are often told, don't make enough. Bankers, it would seem, make too much. At least this is the line that we're fed in 2009.

Undoubtedly the causes, effects, and efficacy of such apparent inequities will continue to be debated. To all of this I would like to add the simple observation that if you want to be taken as a professional of some standing in society, you do well to look the part.

In the end, being a professional is not just about providing the technical expertise needed to deliver results that your peers can use. Being a professional is about being able to represent your field to non-specialists. It must begin not only by taking one's own work seriously, and indeed oneself seriously, but by exhibiting that self-respect. Taking the trouble to dress as an adult is a good start.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2009-12-13 09:44 PM

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