“I’m a professional.” Some folks use, misuse, and abuse these words the way other folks misconstrue “I love you”. You shouldn’t run around making such crazy declarations if you don’t understand the concepts involved. Regardless of your vocation, if you say you’re a professional, people expect you to be competent, skilful, confident, timely and prepared to do the job at hand.
The bad news is that these professionals are hard to come by. In the way the universe works, the other kinds of “professional” are a dime a dozen…
1. The No-Show
You arranged a date and time to discuss the scope of work involved. You confirmed the date and time. On said date and time, you’re waiting at the venue by yourself. Half hour passes, you make a call and the office assures you that The No-Show will turn up, maybe it’s the traffic. You call The No-Show’s mobile number and get voicemail. You are annoyed that you’ve wasted your time. You never hear from The No-Show again but you thank the heavens that you can still recover from this because The Other No-Show has been known to cause mental breakdowns.
2. The Other No-Show
Nothing in your interactions with The Other No-Show indicated that you would have any problems with their service. On the day of [insert auspicious occasion here], said professional is nowhere to be found. Attempts to reach them by phone fail. You frantically drive by their place of business and it’s locked up. Nobody can tell you when they were last seen. It’s as if aliens have abducted them! If you’re lucky, you might receive a call the next day explaining why [insert emergency excuse here] The Other No-Show failed you. If you’re luckier, you’ll be refunded your 50% deposit with no hassle.
3. The Ghost
You breathe a sigh of relief. You have finally found the professional for the job. The Ghost reports early for duty on Day 1. They work hard throughout the day. Day 2 comes and goes but The Ghost doesn’t appear. You call the numbers that you have…no answer. One week and three-bottles-of-rum-that-you-drank-to-overcome-your-anxiety-about-the-situation later, The Ghost turns up with a story worthy of a mini-series and you have to face the cold hard fact that you have to find another “professional”.
4. The Headless Chicken
The Headless Chicken never seems to have a grip on reality. They confuse their clients’ names and jobs. Suggestions to keep a diary on hand go unheeded because they believe in their ability to remember details. They arrive only to leave because they’re missing this or that. Baby elephants reach maturity in the time that it takes this professional to get their act together and complete your job.
5. The Mathematician
These folks have trouble with figures. They’re constantly re-calculating the cost of the job. They never indicate which costs are included in which services and which are extra. As the job progresses, you realise that you are well over their original estimate. With each back and forth discussion about money, you debate calling your lawyer or strangling them with your bare hands.
6. The Premature Ejaculator
They get the job done quickly as agreed. However, you question the quality and robustness of what they’ve done. The catch is that you can’t say that they didn’t do the job but you know that you’re not satisfied.
7. The Bad Interpreter
Everything that you say to this professional gets lost in translation. They repeatedly assure you that they understand the requirements of your job, and they repeatedly do precisely what you did not ask them to do. It’s as if you speak two different languages. You question the meaning of life and dive back into the yellow pages.
8. The Almost-There
My personal favourites. These folks get within an inch of properly completing a job, only to fail at the very last minute. You’re left with a small hole in a wall, that one wire that hangs precariously, a document with no reference list although the guidelines specifically dictated that there should be one, a buffet table with no cutlery… The Almost-There always promises to finish up but never does.
9. The Prodigal Son
The professional who turns up out of the blue, long after you’ve accepted that you will never see them again. You hired someone else. The Prodigal Son has enough gall to be offended that you have betrayed them this way.
10. The Family Operation
The professional who arrives with little ones in tow. Babysitters have emergencies, that is understandable, BUT this professional expects you to watch their children every day while they work. You spend your time asking the little ones to stop jumping on your furniture or to stop torturing your dog and on top of that you have to make them sandwiches! Interestingly, this professional never offers you a discount for your child care services nor do they apologise for the intrusion.
I’m sure that you’ve had experiences with the “professionals” who walk amongst us too. Share your stories below.