Some would say that the definition of a professional is someone who earns money. I disagree.
“She an amateur actress. She hasn’t had a job yet.”
Is that true? Would she be more professional if she was getting paid? I don’t think so. I know plenty of people in Hollywood who earn millions and yet are known to act very unprofessional.
If your definition of a professional depends on a paycheck, then the doctors who fly around the world with Doctors Without Borders are amateurs. They do it for free. No money expected. No money paid.
So what is my definition of a professional? It’s you, right now, whether you are earning money or not.
If you want that big bucks job, act like the people who have secured those jobs. Be professional. Act professional. And you will secure that job.
Note: I fudged the facts a little. The doctors in Doctors Without Borders do get paid, but it is a pittance just so they can have a little walking-around money. The average is 1500 gross salary per month, which is about 1200 after taxes. That wouldn’t pay for their student loans, and that is why most wait until they are earning huge salaries and have amassed a considerable personal fortune before they can afford to volunteer.
Son of Note: Pro bono work (donating your time) is a great way to get your feet wet in stenography. Tell your church that you are willing to write realtime for the parents in the “crying room.” Find a charity, and let them know that you will transcribe their meetings for free. Reach out to the non-profits and offer your time and services. If your only interest is securing a job with a particular firm, let them know that you are willing to be the go-fer or back-office intern.