Monday, May 04, 2009

professional arrogance

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Actually, something is really bothering me about the word, "Professional." The word is inappropriate for the Ideas List. It is exclusive, intimidating and, frankly, smacks of elitist snobbery. It also sounds like only staff and academics are welcome to participate at KUNM; that's too true, already, and needs to change. It implies that being an amateur is synonymous with being a slob or incompetent. An amateur is someone who pursues a study for the love of it, as an avocation, adding the extra burden over vocation, family and other personal commitments. Many amateurs contribute invaluably to the station, and that needs to be appreciated and honored, not devalued.

I would substitute a word like, "adept," "proficient," "competent," "skillful" or "efficient" over "professional."

We are not, most of us -- including some staff, board members and work studies -- "professionals."

That word needs to go.

From Wikipedia

A 'true' professional must be proficient in all criteria for the field of work they are practising professionally. Criteria include following:
Academic qualifications - a doctoral or law degree - i.e., university college/institute

This is ridiculous at KUNM. Most work is done by volunteers. Academic background is not a prerequisite -- YET! -- to volunteer at KUNM, nor should it EVER be! Just because someone can't afford to buy an academic ticket is no reason not to broadcast, work or volunteer at KUNM.

Expert and specialised knowledge in field which one is practising professionally

Again, this is nonsense at KUNM. It's a UNIVERSITY, where people are expected to LEARN things.

Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession

Are people who want to LEARN skills no longer welcome?

High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavours

Everyone is trying to produce high quality work. We need to be tolerant of the diversity of KUNM participants and give them the benefit of the doubt.

A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out one's profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.)

I'd be more comfortable if the last was better defined. Who determines "high" quality?



  It has taken me over one hour to address your reply. I truly detest it when people assume things about me, even when I've written very clearly what I think. Your reaction to my arguments against the word, "professional" truly dismayed, demoralized, frightened, hurt and angered me. I wasn't expecting that. I didn't deserve this. What follows is my attempt to address you as respectfully as I can, but I must say, I'm in tears.


  your aversion to the word professional

  I have no "aversion" to the word; it's simply inappropriate language to describe KUNM and the subscribers to the list serv, and I stated why I thought so. I took the time to research definitions of the word, "professional." I took the time to consult a thesaurus for other options. How we speak informs how we think. How we think informs how we act. How we act impacts others.

  It is interesting, because the word does not have such negative connotations to me.

  It doesn't for me, either, and I don't see why you would assume that. There IS a culture of snobbery at KUNM; several volunteers, work studies and staff have discussed it with me over the years. I'm not crazy, J; it's real. There's no need to solidify that atmosphere any worse than it already is. It needs to be HEALED.

  Your professionalism is not the point of the list serv; it functions as a communications device for ALL at the station. The majority of us are not professionals; we are amateurs. We need not to be disappeared. In fact, we need to be respected and honored as amateurs.

  I'd like other moderator opinions - *IF* this were a list posting, I personally would welcome a personal suggestion from Rogi directly to me rather than putting up what might be a flame-starter posted to the list where everyone would jump in.

  Yet, you posted this chastisement of me to the group, not to me personally. Thank Heavens!

  If the list is discussing policies, as we were, why would I only direct my comments to you, rather than the group? What you had to say is not more important than what I have to say to the group. Why would we not want the group to discuss things that are important to us? Are you aware that I live about 200 miles from the station and that these emails are my ONLY opportunity to discuss these issues?

  I wasn't flaming; I was discussing. I thought you asked for feedback or input about what had been written. I have no idea who first used the word, "professional;" I assumed it came from that Usenet manifesto, not Ellen or you. I thought KUNM was big on "speaking truth to power." When I do it, I hear how inappropriate I am. It's not I who seems to be flaming.

  I cannot imagine this would yield a productive dialog.

  All I did was look up the word, "professional," and state my arguments against the definition! Of COURSE, it's productive dialogue! It's an attempt at opening communications on how we define ourselves. It is ALWAYS productive to learn from others, even amateurs like me!

  consuming the list with word wars.

  I'm not being adversarial; there is no war coming from me. I'm participating. I don't see why it deserves to be turned into a personal attack against me. Is this the big fear: if we HEAR each other, we might actually have to respect each other? Please don't brand me as a crack pot, simply because my experience is different than yours.

  Rogi, Is it true, even though the specific word is offensive to you,

  J, I don't know your life experience, but where I come from, women speak for themselves. I never said it was "offensive" to me. I said it was not appropriate. Please don't put words in my mouth. I don't need editing.

  that the character of what I tried to present was at least understandable?

  Obviously: I even edited it down, as you'd suggested you wanted! I thought that's why you emailed it to us: so we could suggest revisions. I did that, but the word, "professional" didn't sit right with me, so I wrote back.

  Do you assume I'm intellectually challenged, have poor language comprehension or am mentally unstable? Would that be because there is so much discrimination and prejudice against economically exploited people and people with behavioral health disabilities? You do realize that I'm very intelligent, articulate and thoughtful, don't you? Do you realize writing is my profession?

  This is not the first email I've received from you that seems to indicate resentment and condescension. It would appear that I'm being put in my place and this is an attempt to embarrass me. You are the professional here. I didn't attack or try to speak for you in any way. Please grant me the same professional courtesy.

  This is EXACTLY the sort of atmosphere that intimidates and disheartens those of us who have the nerve to break in to the consciousness of the nine-to-five staff at KUNM and presume we have any rights to the facility.

  When I talk to people about why they don't participate in the Ideas List, they use language like, "bitchyness," "nit-picking" and "arrogant" to describe their reception. Those are their actual words, not mine. We NEEDED to ask the community at KUNM THEIR opinions, needs and experiences before we put together anything difinitive for the Ideas List!

  If that's the way people talk to each other on Usenet, I TRULY have no use for Usenet!

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