What is Professionalism?


Professionalism is a requirement in every job sector under the sun. Whether you are a tailor or a governor, one needs to be skilled, have an ability to make morally sound judgements and be polite and well-mannered in every context. Above all you have to be well trained in that particular skill set in order to do the job well. Watching news on local stations raises serious concerns of professionalism ‘levels’ not just in our politicians but journalists as well.

It goes unsaid- whatever our job description is, we need to be professional in the execution of our requirements. Kirk Hazlett, an Associate Professor of Communication at Curry College in Milton, MA wrote an article titled ‘Professionalism’- What does it really mean and he stated:

  • A professional exudes pride…of accomplishment…of character…of commitment to his or her chosen career field.
  • A professional devotes him- or herself to educating others as to the standards of conduct that define and guide those in that field.
  • A professional is one to whom others look instinctively as an example of “how I should act.”

During social hours with friends and family, one can easily tell whose boss is a professional and whose is not. Complain about our bosses seems to be the norm, and during this social activity, it is impossible to ignore the commonalities in complains lodged by different people.

Plenty a time bosses have been deemed as ‘unreasonable’ and lacking in rational as to what needs to be done. Shouting and yelling is another complaint made by many, not to mention shrewd business deals, overpromising/selling, broken promises and outright manipulation and bullying of others to get their way.

This is type of behaviour is not limited to bosses but employees as well. The purpose of this article is not to witch-hunt or crucify those around us that we deem ‘unprofessional’ in our field or outside, case in point how the Orange Democratic Movement elections were conducted on Friday.  It is easy to throw stones at others for their lack of professionalism. However, there is need to look at ourselves and ask the question, ‘Am I a professional?’

There are general guidelines of what a professional is and those can be found in the Code of Conduct section of the organization manual but professionalism is more than that. It is not merely doing everything by the book but also about character and a commitment to one’s career. Professionalism is a state of being. Are you a person that people look at and think, ‘I would like to be like them.’?

Being punctual to work and meeting deadlines, always being respectful to others despite position/status, constantly updating self to the happening of one’s industry in order to remain relevant, being truthful and not prone to tantrums when things get out of hand- the small things matter. And whether you realize it or not, people observe everything you do.

In order to become a professional, it is important to observe people you deem professional and note their actions and attitudes. You however need not just mimic all they do but rather adopt those actions and attitudes to your own lifestyle and skill set. Steve Jobs is an inspiration to many worldwide, not just those in the tech industry. People take his positive attributes and apply them to their individual fields with the hope of making it in a big way as Jobs did.

Once you, after an honest analysis of self, have achieved ‘professional status’,  become a role model for others.

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