Is a Professional No Longer an Amateur?

By: Sean Gerard Angel Pijuan

Before we decide if the question is obvious, let’s first delve into the meaning of amateur. The word amateur, when taken in French, means “one who loves, lover” or “enthusiast”; originating from the Latin “amatorem” meaning lover. The word is also used to label a person as incompetent or inept. Sadly so, but isn’t everyone incompetent when they’re just starting out? What is important is the desire that overspills from the naïve mind of the beginner. Passion is what gets people going, particularly the youth: Fresh graduates, new hires, trainees, people in the early stages of their career. The starting point of the route towards becoming a professional is desire or simply, love.

If we look into its dictionary meaning, amateur becomes the opposite of professional. If this is the case, does that mean professionalism would entail “the one who loved or no longer loves?” Passion is temporary as it is based on emotions. Also, most of our expectations and desires when we are just starting were based on ideas that do not always actualize. The road towards becoming masters of our crafts becomes dull and different. It is not the same as what we anticipated. Furthermore, becoming a professional requires more than just passion.

Professional has been used to mean upwardly mobile, white-collar office workers. Anyone who works has the potential to enter into this state – a person having particular jobs and skills trying to earn a living. When you become a professional, you indulge yourself to a routine and become good at what you are doing. You get paid for being good at executing tasks or performing a role. Anyone can be good at what they repeatedly do, but is this enough to be called a professional?

Very similar to “amateur”, “professional” as a word is also undermined. Professional goes beyond its dictionary meaning. The real mindset of a professional is open to new possibilities. They find ways to focus on getting better at the job they’re already doing. They do not stagnate and limit themselves to routines. A professional takes work and life as simultaneous journeys. They understand that they spend a lot of their time at the office or workplace, so they become productive human beings (not just as workers). After all, life is about learning and becoming better. Skills and values are both considered necessary to improving – yes, there is always the desire to become better when being a professional!

However, professionals do not always depend on their passions. The exuberance that comes from youth has already done its purpose, passion comes and goes. A professional should strive to be driven instead. This means that they should be guided by principles and ideals. Quoting Randy Komisar, “Passion and Drive are not the same at all. Passion pulls you towards something you can’t resist. Drive pushes you towards something you feel compelled or obligated to do…” This means going beyond the dependency on emotions. Doing things out of duty, a professional must be a bearer of ideals. It is not about perfection, but the pursuit of which.

If we really think about it, we are all still amateurs. Amateurs of our ideals and ultimate goals. We have an infinite war against ourselves, against stagnation and routine. So, we must always strive to become better. In the end, no one can be perfect. As professionals, we should desire to be one thing and that is to become amateurs of our own perfection.

Sean Gerard Angel Z. Pijuan is the Senior Quality Management Officer of Invictus Prime Holdings Corporation, a group that manages the consolidation and integration of operations within its companies:  Complete Logistic Control Inc., ZKO Group Distributors Inc., Philfast Global Forwarding Inc., Satellite GPS Tracking and Asset Management System Corp., and SCMIX Builders Inc