The Professional

A Book Every One Needs to Read to Upgrade Professional Life

Books are our best friends. This week when the Unlock India 1.0 is taking shape, let us meet one of our friends. This book would help you to better deal with your personal and professional life.

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.“ Vera Nazarian

Today we bring to you a book titled The Professional written by India’s renowned entrepreneur and author Subroto Bagchi.

This book is essential reading earlier in your professional career. The author writes from his personal experiences about the qualities of a true professional.

The chapters are divided into the following subjects:

  1. Integrity
  2. Self-Awareness: Where competence ends and professionalism takes over
  3. Professional Qualities
  4. Managing Volume
  5. Managing Complexity
  6. New work imperatives
  7. The Professional’s Professional

He starts with an example of Mahadeva, a person who was helping Bangalore police to bury unclaimed bodies. In this story, the author establishes who a professional is?

A professional has two qualities:

  • The ability to work unsupervised, and
  • The ability to certify the completion of the work.

“The cops do not supervise Mahadeva. He is not an employee of the hospital. He is the outsourcing agency the hospital has engaged in the disposal of all unwanted cadavers. He does not have the boss who writes his appraisal, giving him constructive feedback for continuous improvement.”

“In the most work environment, people who produce anything of economic value usually need supervision. A person who needs supervision is no professional. He is an amateur, maybe an apprentice.”

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After setting the premise who the professional is, the author reminded us that years of professional practice does not bring professionalism by an example of two prominent Delhi high court lawyers who were suspended by the court for unethical professional conduct.

On the subject of integrity, the author guides us with his simple views on professional integrity. This applies to all of us.

Integrity means:

  • We follow the rules.
  • Where rules do not exist, we use fair judgment.
  • When in doubt, we do not go ahead and do what suits us, we seek counsel.
  • Finally, faced with a dilemma, we ask ourselves, can my act stand public scrutiny without causing embarrassment to me and my family?

The book is about high strands of professionalism. These standards are more in need in present times in the professional world. Today every profession is facing a challenge of integrity.

Along with the diminishing levels of integrity, humility is another casualty of a successful professional’s life. A little success makes people arrogant.

The author narrates an incident that took place with Narayana Murthy.

He writes, “Nayarana Murthy has always stressed the importance of courtesy and generosity as a mark of professionalism. More importantly, you have to show generosity and courtesy to people when you are in a position of power.”

“You are Amitabh Bachchan and you show grace and courtesy that is when it matters. Not when you are an aspiring actor.”

“Murthy practices something very interesting to retain his humility. Every night before going to bed, he stays awake with the lights out for a few minutes to recall the mistakes he has made during the day. It is the time he speaks to his conscience.”

“Sometimes when he has made a regrettable mistake, this process of recounting the day’s incident is cathartic because it means reliving the pain. Before he falls asleep, he prays that he should be given the strength not to repeat the same mistakes.”

Many professionals aspire to be Nayarana Murthy. The book has many such interesting and inspiriting stories which not only ignite true professionalism but also inspire us to become a good human being,

By exploring a variety of professional dilemmas across many industries, the author defines the qualities of true professionals and the attributes that separate them from the merely competent. These include:

  • Suffer no false attractions:

It’s always tempting to take the path of least resistance, but true professionals can separate the genuine from the phony.”

  • Know when to say no:

True professionals are not afraid to say no to things that are not worth their time, their energy, or their creativity.”

  • Take the long view:

True professionals understand that every action, decision, and relationship, no matter how small, can have a lasting impact.”

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Earlier in your professional career, you get a chance to read this book, better it would make you ready for the future. This is perhaps the essential reading for everyone before taking up their first job.

Enjoy your reading. Use the present lockdown time to upgrade yourself.

You may also like to read: Self-Renewal Is Mandatory In The Post Pandemic World. How To Do It?


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