Morality and the Professional Life


Professional ethics has come of age in a period of great change. in this dynamic, there is a great call for moral professionals. The marketplace and society are requiring moral sensitivity in those they employ.

What Professions and Professionals are

Work is a central concept to the human experience. Almost all of us will have to work for play at sometime in our lives. We understand our work as what we are or what we will become. When we ask children about their future jobs, we ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We don´t ask them what they want to work at or what they want to get paid for doing.

Work is a universal enough phenomenon to become a shared bond or an easy way for strangers to relate. Work and working is a central way in which we define ourselves and others, and our relation to our world.

We are still left to consider other aspects of our work, the issues surrounding compensation, and the role personal satisfaction plays in our understanding of our work.

What it Does Not Mean to Engage in a Profession

Being a professional and exhibiting professionalism is not as easy as it sounds. A profession does not include a greater moral value than a nonprofession. There is no a way a person who practices a particular occupation is morally superior to someone who practices an occupation not deemed to be a profession.

Another way that those engaging in professions have seemed superior to those engaged in nonprofessions is in terms of prestige.

The economic value refers the one that makes the virtuoso’s services “better” that those of the neighbor´s, is not a morally relevant better. We are not saying that virtuoso´s is a better person that the neighbor. Instead, the better here refers to the increased value of the lessons coming from the virtuoso, a value that is probably made up by the training the virtuoso has undergone as well as that individual´s musical repertoire and skill.

A simple way to being to understand the notion of a profession and its related issues is to consider its key concept or most fundamental aspect. We have already established that one way to do this is to think about what a profession is not.

We have some understanding of what work is mean to be a part of a profession and what professionalism entails. They are best understood as being two unique questions that are closely related

To answer this question, we need a few a more terms to help us thing clear. All occupation however entails work and the work they entail is work for pay

All occupation however, entail, work and the work they entail is work for pay, but what of the term professional? Strictly understood, if an occupation is an agreed-upon profession, and the person is a professional

But it seems that we use professional in a number of other less restrictive ways. Return into our anal. Questions  will take us far not only in deterring whatis and what is a professional and what is not a professional .

In the preceding chart, we see that at the very least, a profession is what we work at. These are things. Like a profession requires extensive training. For each of these examples of what a profession is there is always a court counterexample

A profession usually concocts as professional group identification, a profession usually consist of a group of people who in therocupation all do the same thing As we were previously pointed out, the definition and criteria making the definition and criteria marking something as a profession are problematic

A profession consists of three characteristics: group identity—when those in the profession can easily be identified, an agreed-upon skill level—usually those in the profession have requirements in order to practice the profession, and a special kind of knowledge—those in the profession have the knowledge to perform services for those who do not have the knowledge. These skills are obviously interrelated. For example in order to identify a certain member of a profession it often depends on their type of education and qualifications which are usually only shared by those in the profession.

 In cases in which one or more of the characteristics is missing or in debate the profession is considered emerging or qualified professions. One example of this are fields in the military or law enforcement because the third criteria, whether these fields required skills that is beyond common knowledge of regular citizens, is debatable. Part of the debate is whether the field should be recognized as a profession, what is gained or lost by professionalizing these fields. When a field is professionalized it is usually followed by an increased salary. Part of the debate is whether those in the profession are deserving of an increased salary; are these employees in greater risk than the average citizen.


Since we have spent  all of this time considering what a profession is and how to be a professional, we would be well served to consider the profession or occupation in which we would like to engage.

With the what and the why questions answered . at least preliminarily for the shake of this exercise, the issue to concentrate on here is teh relationship of your answer to the what and why questions. Together, these answers give us another criterion or an occupation that aims to be a profession. When the expression of why we want to do what we do is closely tied to what we have chosen to do, then our occupation certainly can be considered a profession, and perhaps more interestingly, we can be considered a porfessional. This is the case because ones carer choice is then inextricably tied to ones notion of self.

Consideration of the what and why questions provides a framework for beginning to think about what kind of occupation one sees oneself performing in the future, as well as the why of performing it. The other questions-where,how, and with whom- are relevant to this concern as well. Based on the previous discussion and with what follows, one should have a pretty good sense of ones desires, relative to work. The choices- whether one will be a professional, practice a profession, or work at an occupation- are limitless, and none of them are permanent.


So far we have distinguished a profession from behaving profesionally, professions and nonprofessions. With two groups behaving professionals. One group would be the professionals to which e have been referring throught this chapter. This group practices an occupation that is a profession and does in a professional manner. The second group we could refer to as occupational professionals. This group would consist of those who practice an occupation that is not a profession, but to do so in a professional manner. This leaves with the following two kinds of professionals.