Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Soapbox: Professionalism

1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
2 a : participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs (a professional golfer) b : having a particular profession as a permanent career (a professional soldier) c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return (professional football)
3 : following a line of conduct as though it were a profession (a professional patriot)

...Or, at least that's the Merriam Websters definition.

A professional is someone who actively engages and specializes in a form of work for profit. It is their profession. (Root: Profess. So, it is the occupation, you say with conviction, that you have.)

As such, its important to, well, take it seriously.

This is where professionalism comes into play.

What is professionalism and why should you care? Simple. If you don't take the job that you "profess" is your specialty seriously, then no one else will either.

Professionalism is the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person. (Thanks again Merriam Webster) It is the behavior and demeanor that you show the world in the process of doing your job.

Hold on, let me get on my soapbox.

-Do dress appropriately and be hygienic. Everywhere if possible, but at work is the important part.
-Do speak clearly and succinctly. But stop talking and listen as well.
-Do manage your time by priority and don't try and do too many things at once. This goes for helping people too. If you can't help more than two people well at a time, then don't do it.

-Don't make lewd comments or elude to incompetence of the people you work with or to your customers. It makes you look poorly as well. After all, you work with them, right? Who is the bigger 'whatever', the boss, or the person working for them?
-Don't assume anything. Your High School coach was right... when you assume you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me".
-Don't talk religion, politics or too much social information about yourself. All of these make people nervous and its best to leave it for late night television or Fox TV to hash it out. If you alienate your clients/customers, then you'll lose their business and they'll tell their friends. Never think they won't.

Hope this helps! But please, keep in mind that I don't write these things because I have an axe to grind or anything like that... the truth is that I struggle with these exact things.

Professionalism is part of being an adult. Whether you're cutting someone's hair or making copies of their favorite pets picture, everyone deserves the best service and respect that you can afford them.

Its what a professional does.

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