Professional Jobs

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The use of the term "professional jobs" poses problems. How, precisely, does one define a professional job? What is the alternative to a professional job? Is it a temporary job? A clerical job? A mere hobby? Moreover, what do these classifications mean in terms of job descriptions, salaries, benefits, and skill requirements? As you can see, the term "professional jobs" is rife with vagaries.

Professional jobs would appear to describe any type work that's done as a profession. That definition falls apart, however, when you consider that any job may be the basis of a career. There are career circus performers and career waiters and waitresses in addition to career surgeons and politicians. As it turns out, the term "professional jobs" is much more about connotation than denotation.

So What Are the Connotations of Professional Jobs?

The greatest connotation of professional jobs is, arguably, a high salary. The assumption quite often is that the rewards of any profession are commensurate with the effort needed to get there. We expect doctors and lawyers to take six figure salaries, as it's ostensibly taken them greater effort (in terms of time and money) to arrive at their stations. We therefore have no problem referring to these careers as professions.

Another connotation of professional jobs is management responsibility. It's convenient for workers to view their positions in terms of labor and management, if only because it helps reinforce certain assumptions we hold about the people who land in such jobs. Like most stereotypes, however, there is little to merit them aside from a passing superficial "truth." There are, after all, plenty of college graduates who manage to ruin their lives, just as there are less advantaged workers who eventually end up in the upper ranks of management.


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