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When professionals become usurped by self-interest (greed or ego)

A profession is an occupation, vocation or career with specialized knowledge of a subject, field or science. Professional occupations
• usually require prolonged academic training and a formal qualification
• are often regulated by professional bodies that may set examinations of competence and enforce adherence to an ethical code of conduct.

Professions include doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, engineers, pharmacists, professors, priests, architects and teachers.

Professions tend to be autonomous

They have a high degree of control of their own affairs, the freedom to exercise professional judgment. Autonomy can embrace judgment, but also self-interest.

A blog developed to support the Trial Advocacy Program at the University of Washington School of Law inspired this post. The Dec. 7 entry ‘NY Judge Rebukes Lawyers, Mourns Drop in Civility’ relates the judge wrote "naked competition and singular economic focus of the marketplace have begun to infiltrate the practice of law …the practice of law is now frequently described as a business rather than a profession." http://trialadnotes.blogspot.com/2007/12/ny-judge-rebukes-lawyers-mourns-drop-in.html

In contrast, some law firms are trying to not hire and rid themselves of lawyers who are no asset to their profession. “…firms are increasingly identifying and addressing concerns involving those attorneys and staff members who, for example, are abusive to co-workers, engage in harmful office politics or act in open and uncompromising self-interest to the detriment of the firm or its employees. What's more, they're doing so regardless of how many hours the offenders bill or how much business they generate.”

A column I linked to last week cited rude and uncollegial behavior in academe. The author doesn’t explain why he thinks professors act in uncivil ways but he does mention self-interest at the closing.

Professionals lose respect
when their primary motives become the quest for money, fame or control rather than helping society. It is sad to see entire professions lose respect. The ones who can halt that disintegration of respect are those within the profession. They need to do that because self-interest actions end up demoralizing staff and ultimately the income of a firm or organization. It’s really all about civility.



I saw something online this week about Delta airlines producing and distributing short videos on how to behave inflight. They said they recognized that more and more people are flying who have never flown and who do not have any idea of what sort of impact they have on their fellow passengers - the videos are, from what I read, based on the concept "you don't wanna be THAT guy" - and they are humorous. In the piece I read, one of Emily Post's granddaughters was quoted on the current state of civility and manners and she said something to the effect of noticing that when people are behaving disruptively, they are unaware of themselves.

I just googled it and came up w/ what looks like the story on USA today - altho I think I read it on CNN.

anyway, kinda fun and related to civility.

- D