Archive for the ‘Word of the Day’ Category

Recently, I read a blog where the author claimed he wasn’t a “real” writer; that he was “just” an amateur.

Though I believe that anyone who writes is a writer, whether or not they get paid for it, that is not the point of this post. Rather, I will be discussing the word “amateur” and the misleading way many people use this word.

The primary definition of “amateur” simply means a person who engages in an activity for pleasure, for the love of it, rather than for financial compensation. An amateur does not make their living engaging in the activity mentioned.  Originally, there were no assumptions as to the quality of the activity performed; the sole point was that the person did not make their living from the activity or work.

Nowadays, the connotations of this word have mostly strayed from its original meaning. Most people use the word “amateur” today to imply shoddy, sloppy, substandard work. It is used to mean the opposite of the word “professional”, which now carries the assumption of quality work.

However, as with “amateur”, the original meaning of “professional” simply meant that one was paid for the relevant activity; this was how they made their living. And while a professional presumably did careful, meticulous work, the assumption that their work was necessarily superior to that of an amateur was not always implied.

Indeed, I’ve seen many amateurs who excel in their chosen activity. Olympic athletes, who are officially classified as amateur athletes, immediately come to mind. Similarly, I’ve seen too many “professionals” produce substandard workmanship. After all, how would the Better Business Bureau exist without so-called “professionals” doing shoddy work?

It is the dedication to excellence that makes the real difference, not whether or not the person is paid for their efforts.

Something to think about.


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