Saturday, September 13, 2008

Painting book

I've been thinking about how we give people and events meaning - and professionalism. Yesterday this image came to me - the image of a painting book. I figured we turn a new page every single day. People, events, information appear before us. Then we start painting them according to their importance to us, and some of them don't even catch our eye.

Some people or events make consecutive appearances, they happen or we let them (or make them) happen, and then we can't look over them anymore, even if we did once.

What we considered important once and painted bright red, sometimes turns out inconsequential and disappears completely from our book. We don't even know what color we'd paint them if they were to make an appearance again.

Sometimes, at work, I have to judge something's importance by my colleagues' reactions to it. Sometimes they react very strongly to something I wouldn't consider important, and sometimes they don't seem to care enough about a seemingly important thing. Because they are more experienced and I assume they know better, their reactions affect my views, as well. I find myself talking passionately about small things, and become indifferent to events I would find important in another setting. Market's priorities started to become my own.

Professionalism, then, is to become devoid of emotion? Reactions are censored and over time, feelings are just not so strong anymore. This may be good when it comes to anger, envy, greed, desire or dislike, it sets minimum standards for the quality of your work and conduct.

But it may not be so good when you take that minimum standard literally and just don't feel so passionately about the subject matter of your work, your audience, or your ability to make a difference. Then you become a boring civil servant who treats everyone equally poorly, and start painting everything the same color - gray.

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