Monday, January 11, 2010

"Professional" Only In Flori-DUH!

An article appeared in the January 2010 issue of Professional Surveyor wherein the author, David W. Gibson, applies a Florida Supreme Court ruling to ALL professions as a status qualifier.  In his article Gibson asserts that the Florida Supreme Court defined a profession as “…we hold that a ‘profession’ is any vocation requiring at a minimum a four-year college degree before licensing is possible in Florida.  There can be no equivalency exception.”  Gibson goes on to quote the Court saying because Florida surveyors were not at some point required to have a four-year degree that “…land surveyors thus are not professionals for purposes of the statute of limitations.”  There are a few key words I need to point out. 
The first is Florida and the second is purpose of statute of limitations.  So, Gibson is trying to have us believe that a four-year degree is the defining standard of a profession simply because a state supreme court created a definition that was consistent with Florida statutes for the singular purpose of determining the statute of limitations.  Here's a thought, change Florida law to allow for quallifying experience in lieu of a degree.  Or, better yet, why not a law that defines all licensed surveyors and mappers as "professional"? Gibson continues his article and attempts to apply his broken logic to exactly the same scenario in Kentucky.

The problem is that Gibson (left) and others think a four-year degree is required in order to be recognized as a professional. Maybe in Florida and Kentucky, for the specific purpose of determining and applying the appropriate statute of limitations, a degree will make a difference but for the rest of us a degree says nothing about your professional ability.

Let’s look at a few definitions of profession and professional.

First, Black’s Law Dictionary defines a profession as “A vocation or occupation requiring special, usually advanced, education and skill. e.g. law or medical professions. The labor and skill involved in a profession is dominantly mental or intellectual, rather than physical or manual. The term originally contemplated only theology, law, and medicine, but as applications of science and learning are extended to other departments of affairs, other vocations also receive the name, which implies professed attainments in special knowledge as distinguished from the mere skill.

Webster’s II defines profession as “1. An occupation usually requiring advanced study and specialized training. 2. The entire group of persons practicing a profession.” Neither dictionary is defines “advanced education”. Since we have three tiers of education, primary, secondary, and post-secondary, I believe advanced education falls into post-secondary education which is any education beyond a high school diploma.

Consider the following list of four-year degrees offered through California State University, Fullerton, and apply Gibson’s strict definition, which he has already taken out of its intended context. Let’s see what sort of professionals we create.

  • Accounting
  • Afro-Ethnic Studies
  • American Studies
  • Arabic, Language and Literature
  • Asian American Studies
  • Art
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Chicana and Chicano Studies -"Hello, my name is Gregorio and I am a Professional Chicanaologist and Chicanologist."

  • Communications
  • Computer Engineering
  • Counseling
  • Economics
  • Education -"My name is Phil and I am a Professional Educator, although I have never worked as an educator."
  • Educational Leadership  -"Hi, I'm Linda and I'm a Professional Educational Leader!"
  • Elementary and Bilingual Education
  • Instructional Design and Technology
  • Reading -"I'm Doug and I'm a Professional Reader!" 



  • Science Education
  • Engineering
    • Civil
    • Electrical
    • Mechanical
    • Software
  • Geography
  • Gerontology
  • History
  • Human Services
  • Decision Sciences  -"My name is George W. and I'm a professional decision scientist."







Now let’s look at all of the categories of employment which Gibson is excluding with his assertion of the Court’s definition because the worker may not have a four-year degree.

  • Attorney (California)
  • Civil Engineer (California)
  • Athletes
    • Baseball (Sorry A-Rod, but the Florida Supreme Court said you aren't a pro!)

    • Basketball (Kobe, time to go back to school)

    • Football
    • Golf
    • Swimming
    • Hockey
    • Volleyball
    • Soccer
    • Tennis

  • Police Officer -(Go ahead and tell the officer who just stopped you that he/she isn't a professional.)
  • Fire Fighter
  • Park Ranger
  • Mechanic
  • General Contractor/Builder
  • Real Estate Broker Sales Agent
  • Comedian/Entertainer
  • Dog Trainer
  • Baker/Cook
  • Nanny
Yet to be mentioned are the entrepreneurs. These are the individuals who may or may not have a degree. They may or may not have any formal education. These are the folks who have a vision and take the initiative to follow their dreams. Successful entrepreneurs make up the backbone of the United States Economy. Take, for example, Abraham Lincoln. He was educated himself as a surveyor and lawyer. With the application of Gibson’s definition, Lincoln was not a professional. What about Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain)? He didn’t go to college, much less obtain a degree. Would we then contend that he was not a professional writer? I think not, but if you believe Gibson, he was merely a tradesman. The history books are full of great men and woman who didn’t have four-year degrees and yet were successful at their work. Libraries are full of wondrous writings by people who made their living typing out novels and stories without ever attending a university.

So if Gibson is wrong to take the Florida Supreme Courts extraordinary and narrow definition out of context, then what would be a modern and useful definition of a professional? We need only to look back to our aforementioned Black’s Law or Webster’s II dictionaries for the answer.

Let us not confuse the public perspective of surveyors with the nature of the craft we practice. In general, the technicians are visible in the field and the professionals are at their desk studying deeds, chains of title, or chasing down historical documents. If professional land surveyors (figure out who I mean) don’t like the image portrayed by our technicians, we should hire better technicians that fit our image. A four-year degree will not remove the tattoos or messy hair from the technician nor will it protect the public from unscrupulous individuals. A four-year degree gives students a broad background which might prove useful at times, but does not necessarily develop professional traits that are acquired with time and experience. A balance and blend of education and experience is perhaps the best recipe but not the only path to professionalism. It is not that a four-year degree serves no purpose, but rather it serves a different purpose – that of instilling a foundation of knowledge which may or may not lead one to becoming a professional.

Although state laws governing land surveying differ widely for a significant reason (jurisdictional history), we should not hold a sense of superiority over others simply because of those differences which are really quite immaterial. I suppose if your livelihood is education, you might be partial to four-year degrees. Further, it would seem that every PhD and ED has a strong pro-education opinion. And it’s not just a pro-education mindset, it’s a superiority complex.

If education were a pyramid, kindergarten (funny we have never adopted the English term – “child garden”) through the 8th grade would be the bottom. That base creates a good, wide, solid foundation from which a person can grow intellectually. High school is a bit further up – not the top, but getting there. Mixed in is experience. Experience refines the basis into a pointed, focused body of knowledge. Depending on a person’s personality, means, and life choices, he or she might choose no college, trade school, some college, a university, or any combination of advanced education which will surely be supplemented by quality experiences from various sources and activities. Does the lack of a conferred degree detract from their professionalism? I think not.

As a final thought, I find it interesting that Gibson uses "PSM" (Professional Surveyor & Mapper) for the article but doesn't mention his PhD.  Conversely, he uses the "PhD" on his university webpage without mentioning his "PSM" credential.  Why would he he choose to omit these titles for the article and also his webpage is a mystery.  In my opinion, it looks a bit like he's pandering to Professional Surveyor's readers by omitting his PhD.

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Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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