The Limitations of Professionalism

Milton Glaser has an interesting take on professionalism. In his rule number 4, from his “10 Things I Have Learned” (all ten rules are well worth reading in full) he talks about how professionalism is about diminishing risk. The professional finds out how to do something well and then goes on doing it. For people involved in creative activities this carries a downside. As Glaser says:
“… Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.”