Sunday, February 13, 2011

Expert or Professional

Well for those of you that knew I was gone, I'm home now.  For the rest of you, I was invited to Langley VA to participate as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) for the multi service work group to revise the JFP 3-50.3 Survival, Evasion and Recovery.  I think that the document has some real useful information in it now.  Some outdated information was pulled and replaced with some new info that is relevant to today's survivor both on and off the battlefield.

I was surprised to receive an invite because I don't really consider myself an expert but I guess that is just another useless military title anyhow.  I am however a professional instructor and there are apparently not too many of us in the service, if you look at the big numbers. 

I have always looked at the expert (title) to be one claimed by those that think they have nothing left to learn, or by those that think their way is the best.  I don't know if that is true in all cases it is just my observation.  On the contrary those that claim professional seem to be a bit more humble in approaching their respective trade craft.  It seems that whenever I participate in educational events I am referred to as an expert in the craft that I am discussing and I always have opposition to the term.

According to Wikipedia:
An expert differs from the specialist in that a specialist has to be able to solve a problem and an expert has to know its solution. The opposite of an expert is generally known as a layperson, while someone who occupies a middle grade of understanding is generally known as a technician and often employed to assist experts. A person may well be an expert in one field and a layperson in many other fields. The concepts of experts and expertise are debated within the field of epistemology under the general heading of expert knowledge. In contrast, the opposite of a specialist would be a generalist, somebody with expertise in many fields.



The term is widely used informally, with people being described as 'experts' in order to bolster the relative value of their opinion, when no objective criteria for their expertise is available. The term crank is likewise used to disparage opinions. Academic elitism arises when experts become convinced that only their opinion is useful, sometimes on matters beyond their personal expertise.
In contrast to an expert, a novice (known colloquially as a newbie or 'greenhorn') is any person that is new to any science or field of study or activity or social cause and who is undergoing training in order to meet normal requirements of being regarded a mature and equal participant.
“Expert” is also being mistakenly interchanged with the term “authority” in new media. An expert can be an authority if through relationships to people and technology, that expert is allowed to control access to his expertise. However, a person who merely wields authority is not by right an expert. In new media, users are being misled by the term “authority”. Many sites and search engines such as Google and Technorati use the term "authority" to denote the link value and traffic to a particular topic. However, this “authority” only measures populist information. It in no way assures that the author of that site or blog is an expert.

A professional is a member of a vocation founded upon specialised educational training.
The word professional traditionally means a person who has obtained a degree in a professional field. The term professional is used more generally to denote a white collar working person, or a person who performs commercially in a field typically reserved for hobbyists or amateurs.
Definition Main criteria for professional include the following:

1.A professional is a person that is paid for what they do. Qualifications have little to do with being a professional as the world's "oldest profession" is strictly a monetary gain career. An amateur maybe more qualified than a professional but they are not paid, thus they are an amateur.


2.Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally.


3.Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession.


4.High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavors.


5.A high standard of professional ethics, behavior and work activities while carrying out one's profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests.


6.Reasonable work morale and motivation. Having interest and desire to do a job well as holding positive attitude towards the profession are important elements in attaining a high level of professionalism.


7.Participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs b : having a particular profession as a permanent career c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return


8.Appropriate treatment of relationships with colleagues. Special respect should be demonstrated to special people and interns. An example must be set to perpetuate the attitude of one's business without doing it harm.


9.Professional Attire – Including but not limited to, dress slacks, long-sleeve button down shirt, tie, dress shoes, etc.


10.professional is an expert who is master in a specific field.

You can read all the descriptions at WikiPedia as these are just snippets, I am sure that you can find enough information there to argue either side of this coin.  It seems that the last criteria for a professional is an expert in the field so maybe I am sensitive to the word for no reason.  I have attended many events where the EXPERT was not what was advertises and at best would be a layperson. 

The reason that I brought this topic up is because I have been getting some slack on YouTube and in emails about the previous post, a chat with the Sierra Club.  I say this, I did the talk for no monetary gain.  I did it because I am a professional and I will relish almost every opportunity to promote survival training and wilderness education.  The Sierra Club has a mixed reputation among our community and I understand both sides of this argument.  This education was not about logging, land use, gun rights, oil or coal refineries, or saving some endangered shrimp.  It was about protecting ourselves in the outdoors so that the government does not have to regulate it.

How would you like to go hiking on the PCT or AT and have to go through mandatory inspection points to make sure that you have the gear to take care of yourself?  Or maybe you would have to go through training in order to get a license to recreate in the outdoors.  I say that it is regulated enough and only by taking care of ourselves can we limit any more government interference.  And while you may not like or agree with the Sierra Club and their goals, if you spend any time in our public lands you are likely to come across them because there are a lot of them and they spend time on our public lands.    To summarize, I am a professional survival instructor and ill refer to criteria number 8 of the professional.   Appropriate treatment of relationships with colleagues. Special respect should be demonstrated to special people and interns. An example must be set to perpetuate the attitude of one's business without doing it harm.

I will continue on my path without letting political ideals pollute the dissemination practical information.  If that somehow doesn't jive with your ideals then don't bother to leave me feedback, just go somewhere else.  I am pro-gun, pro-hunting, and pro using our natural resources in a responsible manner.  I don't believe that an endangered animal habitat should result in shutting down a much needed resource like food production.

I hope that sets the record straight but if that is not good enough for you, then piss off!