What is Your Emotional Response to Professionalism?
Have you had that statement made to you in your working life. “You/We have got to be professional!”
What is the meaning of professional?
Ardictionary refers to is as: ” conforming to the rules or standards of a profession; following a profession; as, professional knowledge; professional conduct. ”
Professionalism is also the opposite of amateur. In other words, that means to make a living out of whatever it is that we do. In that sense, there is such a thing as a professional fraudster or a professional criminal. It is also possible to very be effective and talented in a particular sport or as a musician. One does not necessary make money out of it and in some cases that is not part of the rules. Some sports are strictly amateur.
So what do people mean when they say we have to be professional or something we have done or said is not professional?
It comes down to whether we conform to the status quo of the business. Now, that organisation may have morals that we do not agree with. I’ve come across this in some of the places I’ve worked over the years. I see people aspire to professionalism as if it is some haughty achievement to be proud of but have no idea what the real meaning is behind it.
I once worked for a Christian charity that almost got taken over by an organisation that had no respect for the faith. Any faith related conversations were frowned upon during the short time this organisation were involved. It was considered “unprofessional” to pray. It was considered to be discriminatory to hold such “religious” views, yet promotion of diversity was apparently part of their mission. For me, this is just an oxymoron. An organisation cannot claim to promote diversity and at the same time deny the right of the practice of a religion as discriminatory.
I wonder whether being professional in a working sense could be re-framed as being polite and respectful. For me, that is more authentic and more descriptive of what is required. It poses the question about what we can consider. To be respectful is to try not to offend people.
In truth, I feel this is a little like the subject of cultural identity that I wrote about a few days ago. What is acceptable in one environment is not acceptable in another.
What do you consider the meaning of “professionalism” is?
Do you use the word (as I do sometimes) and have you considered what is meant by it?
Have you experience the use of the word as a form of personal attack?
What emotion does the word bring up for you?
I’m off to Margate shortly for some busking with the band. The Turner Contemporary Gallery open officially today, so there will be a lot of people around. It is a bit of a controversial project locally. The jury is out as to whether it will help regenerate this old seaside town.
Until tomorrow my friends.
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