I lead an interesting business life. I am a sole proprietor, and have been for almost 10 years. Even though it's just me, my business is incorporated, and thus I'm legally the president and CEO of my company. If I wanted to, I could sell shares for my business, which means I'm actually the top stockholder in my company; my wife owns 5% of my business. I'm responsible for all expenses, technology, and outsourcing of certain tasks to others so that I can concentrate on the business at hand. All that and I still have to produce; that's a lot of stuff.

And yet, there are times when I'm not so sure that some people see me as a professional. Some of the things I've had people ask me to do leaves me questioning it. Some of the things I've had people say to me makes me wonder as well. I have to admit, sometimes I wonder if it's the picture I have on this blog or on my website; after all, I'm not naive enough to believe that sort of thing doesn't still happen.

When you do work for someone, if they don't see you as a professional then your life is going to feel miserable. You don't have to work for yourself, as I do. You can work for someone else, be one of many people within an organization, and have people make you feel as though what you contribute is nothing more than just something they personally don't want to do.

I remember back in 1995 when I went to work for this particular hospital that's closed now. On the very first day I realized that the people who worked for me weren't seen as professionals by anyone else that worked in the hospital. For some reason, people equated low wages with competence and talent. Let me tell you, there was nothing further from the truth.

Here's the reality in life. Every person is trained to do certain work, or has experiences that leaves them with special knowledge to be able to do certain things. In a hospital, for instance, there are many specialists, people with training and certifications and degrees that help hospitals produce a lot of revenue. But the people who actually bring the money in are the registration and billing people. The people who make sure the hospital stays in compliance with OSHA are the cleaning and maintenance people. The people who make sure that patients maintain the proper level of nutrition while in the hospital are the people in the cafeteria. Lose any of these people or departments and your hospital is going to be shut down.

Of course without doctors or nurses and the like a hospital will be shut down as well. Still, every person in every job means something to the life of a hospital. Each person is a professional in their own right, whether they have a degree or certification or not. If people aren't treated like professionals, then you get whatever you deserve; that's just how it goes.

What about me? Sometimes I tolerate it to a degree; sometimes I don't. I will wait for my moment every once in a while, when someone really needs something or has gotten close to my last nerve, then I'll just shut things down. Every once in awhile I'll try to talk to someone about it, but I find that when people aren't being professional, they always think they're being professional. I've seen a lot in my first almost 10 years. Those people who really treat me professionally get the best work you've ever seen. Those that don't... well, they still get good work, because I still have my pride, but they only get away with it once.

Are you being made to feel like a professional? Are you treating others like the professionals they are?