Professions are a small subset of occupations that share, to varying degrees, a number of distinguishing attributes, including autonomy, self-regulation, and a code of ethics. Professions claim these privileges by claiming to exist, in essential part, to advance and defend the common good via the trustworthy practice of the given profession. However, professions also exist, in essential part, to advance and defend the professional and economic interests of their members.
Additionally, in any political body that claims to be governed by “rule of law,” lawyers, via their code of ethics, can be in fundamental tension with other professions and their codes of ethics when members of the other professions are employed by corporations or other institutions. This discussion will attempt to “connect some dots” between the CDPs, the distinctive characteristics of professions, and the current “state of the world” with the “better world our hearts know is possible.”
Joe Carson, PE is a deeply concerned licensed professional engineer (PE), federal agency employee, Christian, American and crew member of planet earth. His 40+ year career in the engineering profession has involved nuclear technology - for war, power, and other technology. He served as an officer an nuclear submarines, was a start-up test engineer at three commercial nuclear power plants, and has been a nuclear safety engineer in the Department of Energy (DOE) for over 30 years.
He is, arguably, the GOAT of career federal agency whistleblowers. His whistleblower disclosures about workplace and public health and safety issues in DOE played a role in the passage of a 2000 law by which over 130,000 diseased, disabled, or prematurely deceased DOE workers have received over 20 billion dollars in compensation. For past 20 years, he has been pursuing an objective resolution of his claims that the two tiny, obscure, federal agencies that comprise most of the “immune system” of the federal civil service, that federal agency employment practices are merit-based, not corruption-based are themselves, deeply corrupt and corrupting. He contends his profession of engineering has the most “prosocial” code of ethics of any profession and that whistleblowing engineers are its most “prosocial” members.
Links to material that can be read beforehand. Start with the Wikipedia entry for “profession,” see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profession, and proceed from their as your interest dictates (it contains many related links, skimming through a number of them will give the reader a good grasp on what makes an occupation a profession.)