Are Certain Professions More Important Than Others?
I have a maid.
I have a professional who comes into my home every Friday, who cleans. I take care of all the day to day tasks. But my maid does all the linens, scrubs down the bathroom and kitchen, washes curtains and windows, waxes floors, cleans the dining room chandelier, dusts and mops and wipes and does a great all-over cleaning to my entire house, every week.
I make little sacrifices, nothing crazy mind you, just little sacrifices, so that I can afford a maid. I buy the $14.99 wine on sale instead of the $39.99 wine I really like. When we go out to eat, I often skip either the appetizer or the dessert. I never skimp on the cocktails though. I am a woman with priorities. I buy only one pair of Lucky Brand Jeans instead of two, I only buy the Pier 1 tealight candles that are on sale. These aren't huge hard hitting sacrifices. But it's just enough to cover the cost of my maid.
I love my maid. I love how my windows sparkle and how my wood kitchen cabinets are clean all the time. She's very good at what she does. These were chores I didn't enjoy, and therefore probably did poorly. Not to mention, that I don't know the difference between using Murphy's Oil Soap, or Pledge. And I don't want to. Since my maid has come into my life, I enjoy my house more.
"What a waste of money!" My mother-in-law's voice is horrid, it could make one go blind. She discovered my guilty pleasure. "Can't you figure out how to clean your house on your own? Are you that lazy?"
And she was not alone in this thinking. I have had several friends and colleagues make similarly astounded interjections upon finding out I have a maid.
No one blinks though, when I have my car serviced at the auto shop, or when I have my hair cut at the beauty parlor.
But apparently, in some schools of thought, having a maid is a guilty pleasure I should rethink. Is this a service saved for the wealthy, and nobody told me? Am I supposed to enjoy washing windows? Why is this choice of mine under such scrutiny?
A professional is someone connected to a given profession. That is the basic definition.
I think many people would agree with this much. If a light switch stops working, many of us would hire an electrician. If pipes leak, most of us call a plumber. Many of us use accountants, tutors, exterminators, personal trainers, dieticians, interior decorators, and hair stylists.
There are other professionals in our lives. The kids that mow my lawn, the wonderful people at Taco Bell, the lovely lady at Nordstroms that calls me to tell me Citron silk blouses have arrived. The grocery check out people, the pharmacist, the dry cleaner. Hank that picks up my garbage. Shirley that delivers my UPS packages.
Where is the line? The line my mother in law oh so eloquently accused me of crossing. What is frivolous and what is acceptable. Who is to say what profession is more important than any other.
Sometimes we do not have any choice. You may require a babysitter, or a pharmacist. If you need surgery, you will seek a professional surgeon. If you're mugged, you call the police who are the professionals at catching muggers. If you need a lawyer, well, ... you need a lawyer.
Sometimes a professional can't be found. I wish I could find a good dog sitter. And sometimes a professional can't be afforded. I would love to have a chauffer, but that's not gonna happen. And of course sometimes we are the professionals. I am pretty good with a paint brush. I don't hire painters when our house needs some fresh color. I can enjoy handling that on my own. And I am a professional writer. I make my living with this profession.
I guess the difference between my mother in law and I, is that I value all professionals. I see no greater value in the expertise my attorney has shown, or my accountant, or my dog's veterinarian, than in my gardeners, my housekeeper, or my manicurist.
Where is the line?
So let's get down to my particular guilty pleasure. Could I clean my own house? Sure. Of course I could. I could probably cut my own hair and manicure my own nails too. For that matter, I could probably change my car's oil too. I could probably learn how, and purchase the filter and 10W30, and some kind of little lift I could put in my yard. I could probably file my own taxes too. Technically, I could go back to college and practice my own veterinary medicine as well. Where is the line?
Where we can, we all pick and choose the tasks that we take on ourselves, and the ones where we bring in a professional. But I don't believe any one's abilities or decisions are any more valid than any one else's. When my mother in law hired professional painters to update her hallway, I did not point out how I do my own house painting. (Nor did I offer to do hers.)
So where is the line? Well, I don't believe there is a line.
I don't believe there should be any line. I am just as respectful when I speak to the young men that pull weeds from my lawn, as I am with the woman that neutered my dogs. Both provide services that I utilize. I guess some people could argue that the veterinarian is clearly more important because of the intense education and expertise she has. But I could make just as strong an argument for the gardeners, by pointing out I have needed to have a dog neutered five times in my adult life. I have needed weeds pulled hundreds if not thousands of times. Maybe they are the more important professionals, since I need them much more often.
This reminds me of the classic lines from the 1985 John Hughes movie, The Breakfast Club. The students had to make a lamp in shop class. Brian is arguing that shop class isn't as important as trigonometry:
Brian: ...Without trigonometry there would be no engineering!
Bender: Without lamps there'd be no light!
There are professional piano teachers, organizers, shoppers, Feng Shui consultants, wine stewards, travel agents, tailors, roofers, and koi pond designers. All kinds of people provide all kinds of services for all kinds of consumers.
If you want to change your oil, cut your own hair or paint your own porch that's your call. You have to gauge your needs and wants with your abilities, your time and your money to decide what professionals you may seek. And bare in mind that every one else will be doing the same gauging for themselves.
No one's profession is less important than anyone else's. And no one's choices are any less valid than anyone else's.
And thank the gods for that, or I'd have to start doing windows.
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All text is original content by Veronica.
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