(Epistemic status: Part of the Archetypal Filter series, actual pragmatic thing I am doing with my life, slight dissociative risk herein, boring as fuck I am so sorry)
With archetypes, some come naturally to a given person. Others have to be constructed in response to social stress. The Professional is an archetype I have had to construct and still do not fully inhabit well. The concept is reservation, politeness, professional distance without being cold, and most importantly getting a high from doing a job competently within a system (working outside the system actually feels Wrong in this archetype, even if the job gets done, because it’s not replicable without increased risk.)
To break these factors down, reservation is the concept of muting my natural expressiveness to socially acceptable levels. This is surprisingly hard, but more or less vital, especially given the paradigm I work in is not always the most pleasant to me in terms of my intuitions on how well it serves our clients. This might be an issue of not being particularly good at big picture thinking.
Politeness is in the same vein as reservedness; in other contexts I usually am a lot more present and big and sparkly. This is not really a thing I can do at work.
This part is an analytical sense of who knows who and says what and basically trying to avoid saying things that set these connections aimed at oneself. The difficult part is that politeness is both a wall and also a gate. You have to let people in but you have to do it carefully; it’s a middle ground concept. I’m slightly better at the walling than the gating appropriately.
Professional distance is more applicable to clients. Clients do not want to feel rushed or as if they are talking to a task focused robot but they also don’t want to, like, actually hear about your life most of the time. There’s a lot of scripting here but it’s much higher variance than most scripting I’m used to. I’m pretty damn good at minimal encouragers but after a certain point, people can tell and that kind of reverses all the rapport you built. Professional distance is annoying because I like caring.
This last bit is probably the highest utility function of The Professional. Each of my archetypes has a reward function, a goal that will light up those dopamine receptors when achieved. The Seeker gets this from novel experience; The Professional gets this from a job well done within the system. It’s actually amazing how important working on the systematic level is to this archetype. This wasn’t an intentional construct but I think it’s a fairly logical one. This reward function is based off a function I think most people have, the satisfaction of a job well done. I intentionally intensify it to make The Professional at least somewhat worthwhile to slip into.
Overall, The Professional is not a great archetype for me but it’s a useful archetype. It beats the alternatives of trying to approach my role with my other archetypes; The Analyst might be all right, except the social aspects of the office overwhelm that archetype and cause anxiety.
Discussion: What does The Professional look like for you in your work? What would you add to the construct of The Professional to enhance productivity and work outcomes? How different does an example of a “constructed” archetype feel from a “natural” archetype?