I am sure that every professional has their own take on this.
When I left my first firm of accountants in search of experience after five or so years, my tax manager stressed that, ‘I would not find anything quite as intellectually challenging as tax in my lifetime’. He felt that the discipline and I were well suited to each other and he was right. Ultimately, that is why I settled with private client work in its broadest sense. There is an edge to this kind of work, the kind that stretches you and forces you to grow. As professionals I believe that it our purpose to answer that call … and we end up creating better and more interesting work as a consequence.
But it is not just about the intellectual challenge and cannot ever be. There is a big difference between a profession and professionalism. I have always respected the military maxim that ‘proficiency (a skill) without professionalism (an attitude, a state of mind) equals mediocrity.’ Professionalism is not a box ticking exercise. It is important to be more than just a cog in a wheel, a mere replaceable skill, a ticker of boxes. Professionalism is all about what you tolerate. Full stop.
I have been privileged to work wiith some individuals who have embodied the principle that ‘professionalism is what you tolerate’. Add to that the intellectual, technical challenge and I would count myself as extremely fortunate in my choice of direction and profession.