so – its official: I'm a professional after all (despite what some may feel are my efforts to the contrary...)
Some of you will know that as a provider of support and consultancy services to enterprises, I 'fell' into self-employment and become a micro business by accident nearly 8 years ago. It was never part of any grand career or life plan, but rather a way that I could use what I felt were my skills and gifts in a way that I could continue to support myfamily, and also offer some contribution to the wider world.
During one of my rare attendances at aconference recently I made the most of an opportunity to hear about the work to develop and agree national standards for advisers to co-operativeenterprise. What struck me most from my participating in that session was how I clearly I exhibit the '3 pillars of professionalism':
- qualifications assessed against national occupation standards
- assessed and qualified CPD (continuing professional development)
- subscribing to a recognised code of conduct (especially useful in handling those rare occasions that clients wish to file a complaint against me)
These are all things that I find myself naturally doing – qualifications are a quick and easy way to allow me to assureclients of my skill and knowledge; CPD assures me that I'm keeping myself up-to-date and having opportunity to reflect on my knowledge and thinking; and codes of conduct I subscribe to through my membership of trade bodies (such as the Institute of Consulting) help keep me accountable (and so strengthen my integrity).
So it’s gratifying to learn that these practices I've always adopted as being 'common sense' make me a 'professional', but does this now mean I have to start behaving like one....? and if so, does that mean I should start wearing a suit and tie and charging exorbitant rates for my time ;-)