Unprofessional and Non-Professional. What's the Difference?

Posted by on 16th Aug 2015

Sometimes people in the "professional" environment say "it's unprofessional" to do something. People who work "unprofessionally", but think they work "professional" react appalled to statements like that. Of course they do work on a professional level, they say, but they do not realize the implications of the saying "unprofessional" and "professional".

For many folks in the industry professional doesn't mean "uses professional equipment". Professional refers to someone who makes money doing something. The professionality level is not distinguished by the amount of knowledge they have about a certain topic, or the level they produce at -- making money is.

I wrote about FCPX's "professional" approach before. It is a recommended read, because it hopefully gives more context to my answer here. When someone from the industry say someone is unprofessional it's not meant bad, it just means "doesn't generate money".

If you ask me, it is totally okay to work, e.g. on a podcast or a YouTube channel on a non-professional level. The creators often also think that way. What gets to people though is when you say they are "unprofessional". It's got a really negative sound to it, doesn't it?

As this is my public "diary", maybe I just want to think about the prefix of being un-something or being non-something.