You are hereAre you a Pro or a Joe?

Are you a Pro or a Joe?

By steve - Posted on 07 September 2010

You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That's the mark of a true professional
--Joe Paterno

When you come in to work, are you working a job or are you working your career?

I've met many people in IT and there are those people that strike you as a Pro and others that strike you as a Joe. Now, there's nothing wrong with being an average Joe, per se, but is that where you want to be?

About 10% of the people out there in the IT world are "professionals". These are people that love what they do and would probably do it whether you paid them or not (ironically, this usually means they are paid even more than the average Joe).

About 80% of the people are "Joes". These are the folks that come in to work, do their job, then head out when "the whistle blows."

The remaining 10% are people that ended up in IT because they thought they could make some easy money, the employment numbers looked good, that was the only thing their government retraining dollars would pay for, or maybe their Uncle Buck told them "the future is (hushed tone...) INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY". Since you're reading this, I'll assume you aren't in this category.

So, what separates the Pros from the Joes?

Professionals are all about the work, quality, improvement, exceptional results, and peformance at consistently higher levels than your average Joe. Pros read about IT, study their craft, study their industry, stay on top of new innovations, weed through the cruft to find the useful new technologies while avoiding the fads, and go at their job like it really matters. A Pro could be described as "living to work".

A Joe is all about following the rules, putting in the time, trying not to get yelled at by anybody, getting by, and getting paid. Joes avoid reading about their industry, use down time to "play a quick online game, or two", and can tell you more about their favorite game/sports team/hobby than they could about the latest technology. A Joe could be described as "working to live".

So, take a look at what you do and how you do it. Are you continuosly learning? Are you maximizing your knowledge? Are you trying new things? Are you doing things on your own, without being told? Are you failing, once in a while? Are you owning your job?

If so, maybe you are headed in the same direction as the Pros.

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