Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Don't join the professionals

Cricketer turned journalist Ed Smith has written an article in this quarter's Intelligent Life that I would like to stand up and applaud.

It's about how the concept of professionalism has taken over in every imaginable sphere, from sports to teaching to nursing to journalism.

The consequence being, that in our relentless pursuit of "professionalism", the word "amateur" has come to mean second-rate and slapdash.

He tells an horrific tale of the Kent County Cricket Team arguing for days over the exact wording of a "Core Covenant" rather than practising their cricket.

Modern-day professionalism is obsessed with coaches and consultants, with questionnaires and measurement, and with Mission Statements of the "to be the leader in creating value for customers through market leadership" sort.

Ed Smith quotes John Kay, academic, economist and columnist:
"Whatever our sphere of work, we have to distinguish between what is analytically soluble and what is essentially mysterious. And often the most successful methods fall into the latter category."

Hear, hear. "Amateur" used to mean someone who did something for the love of it. My Mission Statement for next year is to be decidedly more amateur.

1 comment:

Steve's Social Media Soapbox said...

Love the last quote. I have to say, I often think marketing and communications are essentially mysterious. Despite all the analytics, research tools and methods, market media metrics, blah, blah, blah, one never knows quite what will suddenly strike a chord in people's minds and fantasies and become the next iPod or for that matter Nutella. Three cheers for mystery.