“But there are two basic kinds of professional, Harkness saw in a moment of self-congratulatory illumination. There’s the professionalism that does something well enough to earn a living from it. And there’s the professionalism that creates a commitment so intense that the earning of a living happens by the way. Its dynamic isn’t wages but the determination to do something as well as it can be done.
Laidlaw was the second type of professional. Harkness realised it was a very uncomfortable thing to be because, in their work, ‘well’ involved not just results but the morality by which you arrived at them. He thought of Laidlaw’s capacity to bring constant doubt to what he was doing and still try to do it. The pressure must be severe.”
From “Laidlaw” by William McIlvanney