How to be a True Professional
January 22, 2008 12:27 PM   Subscribe

What are the marks of a true professional?

I am 22 and trying to make my way in the professional world after graduating from college last spring. I am a freelance writer, but I'd really like general advice on what distinguishes someone as a professional.

I want to be taken seriously and have been told, because of my age, I really must come across as professional and with everything together to avoid being taken advantage of. It also doesn't help that people constantly tell me that I look like I'm in high school (I guess I have a baby face).

I've read some past threads about business card dos and don'ts and one about professional mistakes.

What makes someone in a true professional, in terms of character and attitude, but also the practical things like business cards, etc.?

posted by PinkButterfly to Work & Money (39 answers total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
Speaking as an editor who is still trying to chase down authors for a book who missed their deadlines 4-5 months ago -- thus putting our copublishing deal in jeopardy and creating logistical and budgetary nightmares for those of us who have to edit and design the book -- I can tell you that nothing is more professional than meeting your deadlines, religiously, and adhering to the specs you've been given (a number of our authors who have turned their essays in decided, unilaterally, that they were special snowflakes and deserved to have twice as many words as assigned. Which, again, creates logistical and budgetary nightmares all their own.
posted by scody at 12:31 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

A true professional hides from nothing. If you are assigned a project and you have no idea how to do it, you get help- you don't let it rot in the corners of your desk until someone asks you about it. If you feel something could be done better, you speak up and take the lead on implementing your way- you don't sit around complaining to everyone around you. If you're doing a fantastic job on something but you're going to be behind deadline, you speak out and say so BEFORE your boss has to track you down. Action. A true professional acts.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:34 PM on January 22, 2008 [6 favorites]

Unfailing communication.
posted by crickets at 12:36 PM on January 22, 2008

Take responsibility for your fuck-ups, apologize gracefully, and move on. Because everybody makes mistakes from time to time, but trying to cover your tracks or push the blame somewhere else only makes you look cowardly and yes, unprofessional. Give credit whenever credit is due, and accept kudos modestly when you earn them.
posted by junkbox at 12:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Be polite and respectful in the editing process.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:39 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

True professionals are always on time
posted by poppo at 12:40 PM on January 22, 2008

In theatre I was instructed that whenever a director gave you a notes during rehearsal, the correct response was always, "Thank you." Being able to take criticism without becoming defensive or asking a million questions is critical when working on a deadline, on a large team, or in a creative position.

Also, the hallmark of being a professional is recognizing and taking responsibility when one has made a mistake. I have had several really good bosses who've stressed that if (WHEN) I make a mistake, to come to them directly so we could fix it as smoothly as possible. The times I've neglected to do this have always made problems further down the line.
posted by hermitosis at 12:40 PM on January 22, 2008

Paperwork, and always have your serious face on when doing serious things.

If you realize that, on average, most people you work with don't care about their job or aren't very bright or otherwise exhibiting characteristics which hinder your job. In a perfect world this wouldn't be, but you realize fast that if you document meetings and are very methodical about everything you do, without taking shortcuts, it will help you out immensely.

Wait until the first person tries to blame you for something you didn't do, and then realize that having evidence and e-mails makes you look professional and together. It will happen eventually, you must always prepare for being backstabbed and be prepared to deal with it in an unemotional, stoic matter. Always remember that no matter how bad things get, act as if you're going to have to work with the person the next day. That's the mark of a professional and will eventually show and vindicate you.

Sorry to be so negative, but the true professionals really shine through when the shit hits the fan. It separates the people who've had a good upbringing and know how to appear professional, from those who truly are.

Professionalism is not being a methodical bureaucrat, but it is a small piece of the pie. Remember to never let someone deflect blame on you and don't deflect blame on them, unless you have evidence they deserve it.
posted by geoff. at 12:41 PM on January 22, 2008

Yeah, as a former alt-weekly musci editor, freelancers who don't hit deadlines are just kids dicking around. Another sign of a pro freelancer is that your willing to write about whatever an editor needs written about, not just the stuff you are into. To stick to music writing, someone who just writes about the latest trance records is a hobbyist, but someone who can do that or write up the new Beyonce record on its own terms is a pro.

Looks matter. Not you genetics, but what you do with them.

Pros know what they can do, and farm out what they can't to other pros. If you aren't a designer, don't build your own website.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:41 PM on January 22, 2008

Here's a few thoughts:

-- ALWAYS do what you say you're going to do
-- Unless you find that you can't, in which case you should communicate clearly with enough time to change plans
-- Taking your ego out of it -- you will find in your career that adults, grown-ass people with grey hair and everything will act in ways you find confusing and insulting. It's almost never about you.
-- Never lose your temper, even when you are furious
-- Remember that whatever it is you do in your career will come back to you and acting accordingly
-- Own your mistakes: admit, apologize, fix and move on
-- Facebook friends are not real friends, doubly so at work. Remember that the informality of social media can come back and bite you, big-time

As a fellow freelancer, I can tell you that you're going to end up paying the bills with something other than writing, or by writing things you never thought you'd write. I had a very snotty, condescending attitude about any job that wasn't writing for a long, long time. Man, I wish I could undo all of that now.

The list above is broad, but will probably apply to much more than just the field of writing ...
posted by chinese_fashion at 12:41 PM on January 22, 2008

Don't be afraid to say "I don't know". Given that, when you make it through a meeting without having to say it, you'll most likely be impressing the hell out of people due to your level of preparation and honesty. Toss in experience, real solid experience, and you'll be all set.

Etiquette matters so long as there are people like me who immediately discount a person who can't even shake my hand properly. I'll give them a try for sure, but it certainly raises a warning sign in my head. The same is true for those who don't display a measure of efficiency in their dress and behavior. For those that due, and are also able to innovate something new I haven't seen... they clearly have a lot to teach me so I'm very disposed to working with them.

Oh, and 99% of humanity's troubles descend from communications problems, most notably a lack of it. Master that as well. Take notes of meetings with decisions and assignments high lighted and email them to everyone afterwards to ensure all heard what you heard. I'm still amazed at how little some people here sometimes, and how bad their memory (and mine!) can be. The notes help with both.
posted by jwells at 12:44 PM on January 22, 2008

As Scody said, meeting your deadlines and requirements are a must for freelancers. On top of that I would add that you should treat your freelance business as exactly that, a business. What does that mean? It means that just like any other good business you need to conduct yourself with integrity and make sure that you are available to your clients in a timely fashion. There is also the matter of paperwork and records. You should keep detailed records of each job you work on (I use Filemaker Pro for this) and make sure to issue contracts for each project you take on as well as invoices for any services rendered so that you have a paper trail to protect you. For every freelancer scorned I can tell you there are at least an equal number of clients who are horrible about paying on time or question the agreement you settled on. Make sure you lay out in plain english EXACTLY how you are to be paid and at what time(s). All these suggestions can be expanded on, but I would really just recommend finding a good book about freelancing. When I started I purchased "The Business Of Creativity" by Cameron Foote. I'm sure there are many others that my work for you. Bottom line... Have your shit together and expect your clients to give you the same respect that you (hopefully) will give them.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 12:46 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

As an engineer I like to imagine professionals as little parts of a big system. The only way such a system works is if the little parts are well characterized - you know that if you provide certain inputs, the part will work its magic and produce well-defined outputs. If this part of the system is working properly, the system architect can put it out of his mind and worry about other things. That's the reason you exist - to take some aspect of the system, package it up so that it is your responsibility alone, and silently take care of it so that the rest of the system works.

I have seen my brother, a freelance musician, develop into a professional and here are a few things I've picked up from him.
-Be matter-of-fact. Remove your ego and emotions. Either you can do the job, or you can't, and either way your client needs to know. This is why in professional choir rehearsals, if somebody screws up a note, they put their hand up and acknowledge the mistake while the song continues. This tells the director, "oops, sorry, won't happen again". If nobody puts up their hand, the director has to stop and figure out why the chord sounded wrong, wasting everyone's time.
-Be dependable, above all. Your reputation is currency. Doing a great job for a client is how you get more jobs. Missing a gig forever excludes you from that network. (for musicians, if they are ever sick and unable to perform, they will often pay their own substitute to take the job for them. It's not about the player, it's about getting the job done.)
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:50 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh man, welcome to my world. One thing I will tell you is that a good wardrobe goes a long way. I work in a "business casual" office, but I always try to stay on the "business" side of that spectrum. I don't wear suits or anything, but I am aware of my appearance.
posted by radioamy at 12:56 PM on January 22, 2008

Don't hit reply all when you mean to hit reply.
Make sure the name in the To field is the person you really want to email. Check this everytime.
Think twice before speaking once.
Don't be formal all the time--try to understand when it's OK to casual or funny or informal.
posted by mattbucher at 1:21 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Make your contact email something normal like firstname.lastname at gmail dot com. Resumes from things like "fairyluvver1986roxxx at hotmail dot com" smacks of junior high.

When meeting a new editor for the first time, dress professionally; white button down shirt, plain black slacks, nice shoes. Look serious. Get there 10 minutes early if you can.

Once you're done with assignments, ask for more. If you have story ideas, pitch them neatly in excel files with things like title, synopsis, due date, sources to interview.

Try to under-promise and over-deliver; if an article gets deep-sixed, take the kill fee graciously and don't assume that your next assignment will go the same way.

Network with other writers. NEVER burn a source or misquote someone, if you are worried a quote isn't exact double-check it; ALWAYS tape-record your sources if you can, don't take notes, you may spill coffee on them or whatnot.

Build a set of creditable sources (if you write about music, local musicians that have clout; if you write about scientists, local professors, whatever.... doesn't matter, keep a list of them and use them to build connections).

If you are using a source for quotes or to add credibility to an article, when you are just starting out, it sometimes helps to send them a rough draft of the article or the paragraph where you cite them. It builds trust and makes them more likely to respond to future requests for quotes or opinions.

Don't be afraid to shop an article around that gets rejected by one editor; shop it at every publication in the region that might buy it.

I am an editor at a couple of online magazines and sites and the main thing I can say is, timeliness, brevity and clarity in EVERY situation is the best course of action. And don't forget to invoice on time and make sure all your information is current on invoices. Nothing is worse than moving and realizing your last check went to an old address!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:24 PM on January 22, 2008

Lose stereotypes and prejudices immediately or you will fail.
Give credit.
Don't take credit.
Make eye contact.
Don't make assumptions.
Respect experience when you recognize the real thing. Watch and learn!
Respect oddballs who are higher up than you. There's a reason they are where they are.
Pay attention to your gut and once you know it very well, take heed.
Underpromise, overdeliver.
Be thoughtful, inclusive, and assume good intentions of colleagues.
Take notes in long hand, date them, review them often.
Pick up the phone instead of the keyboard.
Take the high road.
Don't bluff until you have a lot more experience.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:38 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Say what you mean.
Mean what you say.
Do what you say you're going to do.
Be on time.
Be available (contact-able).
Say "I'll find out" instead of "I don't know."
Know precisely what's expected of you, and deliver it promptly.
posted by Wild_Eep at 1:39 PM on January 22, 2008

I've been freelancing almost all of my working life, and I'll second most of what's been said here.

- Punctuality. Duh.
- Know your limits. If someone asks you to take on a project you know you won't be able to do well, beg off. Ideally you'll be able to recommend a better-suited colleague, which earns you brownie points going two ways.
- Be professional in all your communications with your clients. Especially as a writer, poorly written e-mail will mark you not merely as unprofessional but incompetent.
- Be discreet about who you work for and what you're working on, unless you know you can be public about it.
- Know what your clients expect of you and then do it. There are limits to this: if a client is pushing an approach that you know for certain is wrong, the professional thing to do is point that out and help them find an acceptable solution. This could be on matters of fact ("what do you mean the Constitution wasn't written in 1776?") or matters of perception ("what do you mean 'Jesussux' is a bad name for a new line of sneakers?").
- Send your invoices promptly, don't undervalue your work, and don't let clients push you around.
posted by adamrice at 1:47 PM on January 22, 2008

Scody and TPS mentioned the most important things I look for in a freelance writer: Meeting deadlines and not disappearing when there is a problem.

I manage about 30 freelance writers now, and here are some other things I notice in a good way:

-Specific questions about style (this shows you have read the style guide and are styling your documents, which many young freelancers don't seem to think is as important as it is)

-Clear, organized, and standardized invoices, emailed to me (shows that you are on top of your projects and hours, and the more clearly you break down the time, the more I trust you and the easier it is to process). Even an MS-Word template invoice is vastly better than a sheet of paper with your hours, and email insures I won't leave it on my desk.

-Follow-ups to make sure everything is what we wanted about a week after submission (shows you want to impress us and work with us again, gives us a chance to give you feedback for future work or current project)

-Notes explaining your reasoning for doing something outside the scope of the project or something other than what we agreed on (you probably have a great reason for going 10 pages long, but if I don't know about it, I just get pissed off about the extra editing you stuck me with)

-Heads up about your availability (many of our freelancers work on several projects at once, and it helps me to know when you are swamped and I shouldn't call you or when you are free and dying for work-- usually we can accommodate schedules with advance notice)
posted by rmless at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I assume from your user name you are female, although despite its name men would get something out of many of the chapters as well...I really got a lot out of the book Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office. I highly recommend it, the books discusses behaviors, traits, attitudes, actions that come across as not professional, not assertive, distracting, weak.

A few things from the table of contents:

Needing to be liked
Not needing to be liked
Sharing too much personal information
Skipping meetings
Letting people waste your time
Ignoring feedback
Using minimizing words
Talking too fast/softly/high pitched
Dressing inappropriately
Body language
posted by lemonade at 2:05 PM on January 22, 2008

Don't hit reply all when you mean to hit reply

A corollary to this: Don't even hit "Reply" unless what you say could be suitable for a "Reply All". I recently sent a e-mail that was further forwarded without my knowledge and it's caused quite a bit of bad blood. Realistically, it should never have been sent in the first place, or it should've been phrased so that if it became public it was still professional.
posted by fishfucker at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2008

Write to length and file on time, and all the other sensible things that others have said so far. Filing a piece that is too long is bad - filing one that is too short can be worse, and looks incredibly amateurish.

Learn to hate and fear the word "I". Unless you have been paid to write about yourself, never use the word "I". Avoid it at all costs. Build up a resistance to it, so that even when you have to use it you don't want to.

Once you file a piece, it's theirs. They can do whatever they want with it. Don't be precious. As long as they keep the facts right, don't complain.

Oh, get your facts right and keep them right.

Which reminds me: Wikipedia has its uses in getting you started on research, pointing you in the direction of relevant articles for instance, but double-check any fact (ie dates, name spellings) you find on it against a reputable source.

Sub-editors often seem perpetually displeased, but in fact they are your friends. Treat them very, very well, appreciate the wonderful work they do with the dismal rubbish you hand them, and you will benefit.

Keep meticulous records of your work, particularly dates - date article was commissioned, set deadline, date you filed, date invoice was sent, date piece appeared (including relevant issue info), date your payment was received. I was a freelancer for four years and kept sloppy records for the first two - they ended up costing me hundreds of pounds, scores of hours and a lot of stress. It might sound impossible to you now, but you would be amazed how easy it is to fail to chase a payment, or even to fail to invoice in the first place.

Keep print copies of everything you write. Always err on the side of "keep" when dithering about whether it's worth keeping some tiny NIB you wrote - you can always throw it out later.

Read journalism, lots of it. When buying magazines, occasionally buy one that you would never normally read. Ask yourself why you thought a particular piece was good or bad.
posted by WPW at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

1. Never wear jeans, collarless shirts or sneakers to work, ever, even if some people do it and get away with it. You can phase these back in when you're chairman and CEO.

2. Exude confidence.

3. Speak with authority about things you do know, and know when to admit that you don't know something. In these cases, always know who to ask for information or a favor.

4. On the note of #3, network. Having a network of people who know stuff you don't and have abilities complementary to yours (and who will help you out) is critical. This goes for getting jobs and succeeding once you're in your job. Also, a lot of being perceived as a professional has to do with being perceived as respected by your peers, and this can't happen until they know you.

5. Have ambition, long-term plans, and spend time every day thinking about how to accomplish these plans. You might have to take a job making coffee and copies in order to get your foot in the door, but don't let yourself think for a second that this is a real job, or anything other than a stepping stone to success.

6. Think before you speak. Never badmouth anyone, except to your most trusted friends. Never bring up your personal views on religion or politics, except with your friends.

7. All that stuff about underpromising/overdelivering and being punctual is important.

8. Don't let anyone belittle you, ever. Taking constructive criticism is one thing; having someone treat you like you're useless because you're young is unacceptable. Always strive to be considered as a valuable contributor to any organization or project you may be involved in.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:22 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

This doesn't apply to a freelance situation, but for someone who works in an office-type situation who might read this excellent thread in the future. Be very cautious about who your work friends are. Don't be unfriendly, but avoid associating with the office gossip or the office crank or the office whiner (and it goes without saying that you should never BE the gossip or the crank or the whiner). Don't get involved in office politics.

More generally, a true professional treats the administrative assistants and receptionists and janitors and all the other people who make an office run with the same respect and courtesy as they would the CEO or their boss.

As for business cards, pay for some to be printed by a printer (try a large office supply chain for reasonable prices.) Don't make them yourself or get them made by one of those companies who do it for free, but put their own url on the back.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:25 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

For you to claim writer as your occupation, you can never be a true professional. I'm sorry, don't argue. It just won't happen without specialization. If you were say, a writer for magazines exclusively serving the above-ground pool market, then yes, I would say you are a true professional. But, if you are still just sending out queries to magazines you are reading but not buying at Borders, then you are never going to be a true professional. Why, because professionalism takes investment, perseverance, beauty, irreverence, and courage. You need to be willing to take every extra step to lay down even the smallest job and hold to a deadline like it's your last. You need to be able to go balls to the wall to convince people you're right for the job even if it means baring your soul for the first time ever to someone you haven't been birthed from or had sex with. You need the beauty of knowing your next job won't be your last and not getting caught up with other people's mistakes. You need irreverence to know when your god and your idols are not going to help you succeed. You need the courage to move in your own direction and leave stragglers behind. When I told my parents I was going to go back to England to work for the BBC, they didn't think I would do it. I gave myself two years from Dec. 27, 2002 to go back or call it quits in journalism. I went back May 2003, ahead of schedule and in time to do some great work for a national network. That's what it takes.
posted by parmanparman at 2:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

One of my definitions of professional is "always doing your job, even on the days when you don't feel like doing your job".
posted by Rock Steady at 2:39 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Never use buzzwords for effect, speak plainly.
Be on time.
Listen to what people say and reflect back to them showing you understand.
Don't curse.
Dress professionally.
Thank all people you deal with, especially people like assistants & security folk.
When you call someone without an appointment, ask "Do you have time to talk now?" first, before asking questions.
If you don't know something say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."

Good luck.
posted by Argyle at 2:47 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Take it as given that all of your emails/words are going to read/heard by the person you least want them to be. It will happen eventually.

Even in your emails to non-work-related friends, use correct English (or some approximation, like I'm doing here.) Don't be immature as soon as you're off the clock.

Details, details, details. Only true professionals get them right.

Check, double-check, and triple check, any and all calculations. Always.

Make up for the skeletons in your personal life by having absolutely zero skeletons in your work closet.

"Things are going well." Make this your mantra. When everyone else is bitching and worried, a true professional puts off the aura of having everything under control.

On the other hand, if you are caught unprepared, or if you don't know something, just say you don't know, and you will look into it. At that point, strongly consider postponing the meeting- or whatever it is- until you have indeed looked into it. It takes balls to cancel a meeting on the off chance you might be wrong.

Avoid imprecise statements as much as possible. You don't have to be a walking encyclopedia, just don't be like, "It's like this, I think, it kinda, you know, or something like that, aboutsies." No aboutsies. Have some respect for precision- our whole scientific modern world is built on it.

Ok that's enough. The ideal professional depends on the profession. Hopefully those few things are relevant for your profession. Good luck.
posted by proj08 at 4:57 PM on January 22, 2008

Clarification: By "skeltons in your work closet" I mean fudging numbers in the payroll, stretching the law slightly, shit like that.
posted by proj08 at 4:59 PM on January 22, 2008

People who talk at length about their personal lives at work seem very unprofessional. When someone asks you "How was your weekend?" the proper response is not that you had a fight with your boyfriend, your annoying mother stopped by, and you got your period. No one really cares.
posted by desjardins at 7:09 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Professionalism means doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching.
posted by findango at 7:44 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

You're showing professionalism by asking this question, so you're off to a great start.

This is probably a personal peeve, but I would drop the word "freelance" unless you're writing for magazines. In my niche (basically business writing), "freelance writer" or "freelance" anything suggests part-time, not professional, and probably too cheap. I sometimes hire writers and I tend to avoid people who say they're a "freelancer" because it suggests that they don't have much experience and don't know the corporate market.

I would say I own a writing business or I'm a writer (copywriter, technical writer, magazine writer, whatever).

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet: Make sure your web site looks professional. Many writers have clearly home-grown sites, which I think limits how much they can charge. It doesn't have to cost anything. Even a decent WordPress template would do it. I paid a professional to design my site and immediately got better-paying, more professional clients.

You might be tempted to get on a client's or editor's good side by making a mild joke about their competitor's poor copy or whatever, but don't. Don't criticize or even seem to criticize another person or company.

When someone treats you poorly, don't get angry, get classy. Get your revenge by calmly and quietly being far more professional than they are.

One more thing, also a pet peeve: Charge enough. Don't charge a low rate just because you want the clips or a foot in the door. Rates for writing are already too low in most fields, and this is largely because so many freelancers are so eager to be cheap that they have lowered the rates for everyone.
posted by PatoPata at 9:52 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and another thing. If you're late returning a call or email, don't offer excuses. Just say, "I'm sorry to take so long to get back to you" and get on with it. Don't tell the editor or client about your flu or sick dog or anything else.
posted by PatoPata at 9:54 PM on January 22, 2008

Don't tell the editor or client about your flu or sick dog or anything else.

Oh, thank you for mentioning this! My coeditors and I actually keep a file of the most jaw-dropping that we've been given by late authors over the years. The words "and, I don't know why, but I was then visited by the sciatica" are guaranteed to bring tears of laughter in our office, in honor of one particular author who never did send the chapter we commissioned, but did send two typed pages (single-spaced) detailing not only his own ailments, but the ailments of various loved ones. Also, whenever one of us has to work with a particular curator at our museum -- a fellow legendary for both his chronic lateness and elaborate, self-pitying excuses -- we always say, "watch out for [John's] stigmata."

Needless to say, don't get stigmata.
posted by scody at 11:38 PM on January 22, 2008

True professionals do the job even when they don't want to.
posted by jcruelty at 12:36 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all.

This is exactly the type of advice I was hoping for.
posted by PinkButterfly at 2:41 AM on January 23, 2008

Great thread. Thanks for asking the question.

"You can't tell when a professional [musician] has an 'off' day." (I was told this as a kid, and most recently tested it on drummer Dennis Chambers: There's little to nothing in a professional's demeanor or performance on a bad day that an outsider can pick up on.)

Don't be afraid to ask when you don't understand something. You wouldn't be in the responsible position you're in if you weren't the best person for that job. The corollary to this is the following:

Don't belittle someone for not understanding something. They wouldn't ask you if it weren't worth your time to answer them. Your clear and concise explanation of even the stupidest subject matter will will make the question asker feel valued, and will have the other people in earshot thinking "That's a truly professional response. We shouldn't be wasting this person's time with piddly stuff like this."

It seems to always come down to the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.

Unfortunately, not all work environments will reward this behavior. But that's just your sign that you are not working with True Professionals. You'll keep moving up the food chain, though, and eventually you'll be working with True Professionals.
posted by lothar at 10:25 AM on January 23, 2008

Well, if I've learned one thing about Hunter S. Thompson's idea of a pro, it is this: Brutal, uncompromising honesty. Even if it costs you, or hurts you, or kills you.
posted by papafrita at 5:50 PM on January 23, 2008

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