Three Lessons in How to be Unprofessional


Three Lessons in How to be Unprofessional

imageOne of the critical skills of professionalism is Discourse Analysis.  It is through Discourse Analysis that we understand the power in messages revealing: ethic, politick and motive. Discourse Analysis is also foundational to Social Psychology.

You will find next to nothing on Discourse Analysis anywhere in the safety industry globally. Telling?

So, let’s do a little Discourse Analysis of a recent message from the ASSP (https://www.assp.org/news-and-articles/the-current-state-of-our-society). Discourse Analysis gets beyond the superficiality of language to the guts of intent, motive and ethic. If you don’t know how to do Discourse Analysis perhaps you should get started. As an example we can do some Discourse Analysis with the context of just 2 words in this message (https://www.assp.org/news-and-articles/the-current-state-of-our-society ) and explore what is meant by the two words: society and professional.

What is society about? Social interaction? Socialitie? relationships? Political safety? Communality? Nup. In this message from the ASSP the 3 foundational things that make up ‘society’ are:

  • Cash
  • Products and
  • Business Agility.

So, what are the essentials to being professional? Ethics? Advocacy? Care? Learning? Representation? Moral outlook? Nup:

  • Cash
  • Products and
  • Business Agility.

Wherever you find a professional association, its core ethic is to represent people, serve people and support people in association. Not so the safety industry. Just have analyze the Discourse and tell me what the ethic is?

Of course, the most important thing about safety is to make words meaningless and this drivel is no exception. In safety, zero never means zero, society doesn’t mean social and different means ‘more of the same’. It’s so common when reading Safety discourse that whatever language is used, it means the opposite. It’s like spruiking a body of knowledge that is silent on all the essentials of professionalism.

The core non-ethic of this message is: anti-society, anti-safety, anti-learning and anti-professional. Nothing in this message of: vision, innovation, tackling the challenges of brutal safety, the failure of zero ideology, dehumanization of persons. Nup:

  • Cash
  • Products and
  • Business Agility.

Apparently, the number one cab off the rank in importance for being a society and professional is? Cash! And don’t forget to roll out and endless parade of meaningless post-nominals. The moment you see a bucket of meaningless post-nominals what is the Discourse? What is the ethic?

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going to the ASSP home page and came across this: https://www.assp.org/news-and-articles/9-lessons-in-advanced-safety-management-from-a-legendary-professional. Where would you start? None of this is leadership, none of this is professional. None of this is ‘advanced’ indeed, it’s a good step backward.

Next cab off the rank is growth and products. The purpose of products and growth is cash and kingdom, and the purpose of training (not learning and education) is working with sponsors to develop more revenue streams for more cash and what products can be ‘sold’.

The third point in this message is all about ‘business agility’ for a ‘stronger future’ (read fortress sustainability).

So, it is clear in Discourse that this message has nothing to do with ‘society’ or ‘professionalism’. Indeed, Discourse Analysis reveals that the core message is the opposite.

If you want to read about the nature of a profession, perhaps read here:

or perhaps read here:

and whatever you do. Don’t discuss ethics, politics, power or motive because the last thing desired is to blow away the professional mythology projected by Safety.



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