The Most Respected of Professions

By Thad Plumley

There is a built-in sense of respect when you meet someone who is a doctor or firefighter.

After all, those people are literally waking up every day to go to jobs where they’re helping keep people alive. Is there a more awe-inspiring way to punch a clock?

Actually, there is. It’s called being a groundwater professional.

Sure, this is the April issue, but I swear that wasn’t an April fool’s joke. Honestly, why did you smirk or laugh?

Groundwater professionals provide life-sustaining water to families and communities all around the planet. Why isn’t that thought of the same way we view doctors who heal bodies, firefighters who save us from tragedy, farmers who grow our food, and scientists who help us better understand the world around us?

Look at any survey of the most respected professions and doctors, firefighters, farmers, and scientists are always at the top. But groundwater professionals perform a noble job too and truly belong listed beside those professions.

Say it out loud if it helps it sink in, but begin believing it and living it. As a groundwater professional, you perform daily some of the most important tasks in your community. Simply put, people can’t live without the water you are providing.

Begin marketing your profession that way too. You all know there is a struggle to find the next generation of groundwater industry professionals. We have written about it extensively in the pages of Water Well Journal.

We have detailed ways to entice people to join the industry. Discussed has been everything from competitive salaries, creative benefits, and unique training methods to the importance of continuous opportunities for professional development.

All of those are indeed an absolute must today. But so is marketing the significant place in society a job as a groundwater professional at your company holds.

You must promote that working in the groundwater field is a position in which employees at your company go home every day after ensuring families or communities around them have access to safe, clean water.

Every generation is different, and studies have shown that the young people entering the workforce want to know they are making a difference. Punching a clock to pay the bills and support a family is not enough for them.

So, now that you know that, play to that. Advertise that your company is in the business of providing the most basic of all human needs—freshwater.

Let potential employees know that when they start at your company, it is the equivalent of a doctor joining a hospital staff or a newcomer beginning at the local firehouse.

When you make your new hire feel that way, and you truly feel that way, then the community around you will join in with those feelings too. That’s no joke.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.