“A professional – engineer, doctor, lawyer, or teacher – should have a well-rounded education, which teaches the technical expertise of the field, but alsoinstructs the whole human being about the pleasures and responsibilities ofbeing a contributing member of society.”The most important part of any career is training. If you want tobecome anything from a cook to an astronaut, it is important that you know howto do your job. Education is key to be able to do a job. But, for certainprofessionals, such as engineers, doctors, doing the job right may include a lotmore than what they were taught, or could be taught, in any school.
Theseprofessions must also learn how to be responsible to the public. People in suchjobs must be instructed on the responsibilities of being a contributing memberof society.Most professionals feel their duty is to serve their client, or to dotheir job to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, this is not good enough.When a person’s profession or the product of their work will involve the public,that person should also be responsible to the public. The only concern of anengineer cannot be to make a bridge as sound as possible in a certain budget.If the people are to be crossing over this bridge, an engineer must alsoconsider if it is possible to truly make this bridge safe within the allottedbudget.
He must not think purely of the technical aspects of the bridge making,but of the human side. Statements like “Is it safe?” should be replaced by “Isthe bridge safe enough?” Whenever one’s work involves the public, one must beconcerned for the public’s health and safety.Professionals today must make judgement calls that were never requiredof them before. They must decide whether what is good for science andtechnology is good for humanity. There must be a certain responsibility to anexpert for what they have created. As an example, look at Albert Einstein’sresearch in nuclear physics. After realising that a nuclear weapon was possible,he was going to stop research.
However, considering the result of his actionshe continued and created an item that killed thousands of people. He came tothis decision after deciding that if the United States did not develop thisweapon first, then Germany would, probably killing hundreds of thousands more.This was a moral dilemma that no one should face, but professionals do faceother moral dilemmas every day. Should a lawyer defend a guilty man for tentimes the normal fee? Or should an accountant alter some numbers to make it morefavourable for the company that his brother owns? These are all tough questions,and are difficult decisions for one to make, but they must be addressed. To bea contributing member of society dictates that one should do this, but one’smorals or one’s finances dictate something else entirely. Nothing can beentirely correct for either side in these matters. Rather, it is a balance gamewhere the professional himself must decide how they are going to tip the scales.
The ability to communicate with others is fast becoming a requirement inevery job. Professionals such as lawyers and accountants have to deal withpeople every day. But increasingly other specialists, such as engineers orscientists, must deal with unions, management, citizens, and special interestgroups. Being able to recognise and address the issues of all of these groupswhile still doing the best job possible takes some very skilful judgement calls.It is a delicate balance and takes practice. Increasingly now, people arerequired to do this without any formal training and little experience in suchmatters.
To be fair to society, maybe one should lean towards the union’s orthe municipality’s side of an issue. To keep one’s job and to keep unnecessarycosts down low, one should take the company’s side. So what side should onereally take? No one can be sure, but the decision will be left up to theprofessional, and so they must be given guidance on how to face these issues. Aprofessional must be trained in skills outside their trade.
Knowledge and responsibility are two things that should go hand and hand inprofessional’s decisions. Public health and safety concerns, moral decisions,and the ability to communicate are all required of a contributing member ofsociety. Better training is required to prepare future professionals for thesesituations.Category: English