Times change and so do the words that we use. Some examples, a secretary was originally a desk suited for writing correspondance. Only later did did the word secretary refer to an employee whose duties kept him at such a desk. And it used to be that anyone who had a desk job was called a junior executive. Now, secretaries are called administrative assistants, stewards are called flight attendants, and in the information age there may be almost as many job titles as there are people with jobs.
There is a difference between a job and a career, and there is a difference between a job and a profession, but most of those differences are in the attitude of the worker. For instance, you could get a part time job at a fast food restaurant while attending high school or college. You could look at it as just a job and find something full time as soon as you graduate. But if you work hard and learn along the way you might get promoted. You might major in business or hospitality. You might aspire to work at corporate or to own a franchise. In that case, you have a career.
There was a time when professionals had advanced degrees, technical certifications and a license and other specialists were tradesmen. Before that, before the AMA received government recognition, doctors didn’t need to have an accredited education, but barbers needed licenses. Today, there are any number of agencies, schools and businesses that provide training, testing and certification. And anyone who takes his job seriously and acts like a “professional” is a professional.
So what does it mean to be a professional? It means striving to be better. It means keeping up with changes. It means following a recognized code of ethics in your dealings with customers and colleagues.
The National Association of Professional Organizers provides continuing education and has a code of ethics. The Institute for Challenging Disorganization similarly provides training and has its own code of ethics. These different codes of ethics are compatible. Take a look at them. Before you hire a professional organizer make sure that they know and follow at least one of these codes of ethics.