So much in media and in our own language we refer to ourselves as workers, and being are being referred to as such. The only problem I have with my union representing me in such a way is that I am not a “worker.”
So, what is a worker?
A laborer [in British English language regions labourer] is one of the construction trades, traditionally considered unskilled manual labor, as opposed to skilled labor.
“Firefighter” is not unskilled manual labor. It does involve manual labor much like those of masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, brewers, coopers, and printers. Frequently, our work involves the reverse of those trades when their work is tested by fire. When it is, we arrive, and skillfully use the tools of our trade to reduce damage and possibly (but not as frequently) save a life due to exposure to fire.
Being a Paramedic, I am FAR from unskilled. I require much education in medical theory and techniques, and constant practice to keep that knowledge and procedures current. When a person falls ill, we arrive and utilize medical diagnostic equipment (which requires skilled operators) and interpret medical information to produce a diagnosis (a working diagnosis, but one nonetheless) in order to skillfully treat, stabilize, and transport a sick or injured person.
“Skill” is what separates a laborer (worker) from skilled labor (a professional).
Skill is a measure of a worker’s expertise, specialization, wages, and supervisory capacity. Skilled workers are generally more trained, higher paid, and have more responsibilities than unskilled workers.
Both firefighter and Paramedic require skill and knowledge beyond what a regular day laborer has. I am specialized and demand a higher salary as a result of years of training and experience, and I am required to perform a supervisory capacity as the leader of an ambulance crew or a team of ambulances.
A professional is a member of a vocation founded upon specialized educational training.
So I would appreciate being called what I am, a “PROFESSIONAL.”