The emotional labor of professionalism – revisited

I recently wrote adamantly against the idea that the difference between professionals and amateurs was that a professional puts aside their authenticity to do a job. I argued that this was inhuman. After more reflection, I can see the validity of the perspective more.

I don’t think it’s so much that you are silencing your humanity, but it’s true that you can’t just show up and decide to behave inconsistently just because that’s how you feel. If you want to be successful, you have to be consistent. You can change your mind, certainly, and you can have bad days. But you should be pretty much consistent.

The reason for this is that consistency builds trust, and trust is necessary for relationships to perform well, and positive, well-performing relationships are the cornerstone of good projects, and if you can’t produce a good project, you’re an amateur.

It is hard to imagine what it would be like trying to work with someone and they show up and say, “I don’t want to work today my mom is mad at me”. People have to work, and that work should be reliable. It’s simply true you can’t let your feelings get in the way of doing a good job when it’s necessary to do a good job. There is a time and a place for humanity to thrive. That can be somewhat on the job, for sure, but for the most part, you can’t be an emotional wreck and expect to make a good living.