Being Professional by Mike Ramey (Posted January 30, 2015)
Our local news ‘happened’ across the umpteenth video involving a school teacher or principal explaining in song and snappy patter why school was closed, due to bad weather. While the video was ‘cute’, it was not professional as a positive reflection upon the education profession. As a matter of fact, it probably caused more than a few parents to wonder: “Why can’t those teachers (or administrators) put that much passion into teaching my kid, for the tax money I am paying them?”
A legitimate question, and one that would not need be asked had those school staffers remained professional. Everyone can’t be liked–but they can be professional. Contrary to popular belief, professionals ARE respected. Even among the ‘casual Friday’ crowd.
Being professional in one’s arena of employment is much more than ‘merely’ wearing the right clothing–although this is a great place to start. It involves a style, an attitude, and a projection of competence with confidence. It involves saying sir, ma’am, please and thank-you. It’s how you carry yourself from private life to public appearance.
Young people are always encouraged to take notes as I continue.
Where did our video-addicted Millennials start to drift off course when it came to manners, customs and punctuality in the workplace? When the media began a non-stop barrage of images showing male and female executives strutting about the workplace with a ‘Don Johnson’ growth of facial hair (and no tie), or visible cleavage from an unbuttoned blouse (and high heels that would trip a stripper). In short, where there is sloppy appearance, you will have a rise in sloppy behavior. Eventually, perception becomes reality, and the bottom line is impacted.
A perfect example comes from the sports world. I’m talking pre-deflate gate. A few years back (which seems like an eternity to our modern video generation) professional athletes were caught on camera ‘showing up’ to competitions dressed any old way, including ‘sagging and bagging’. Higher ups put some rules in place called ‘the dress code’. It mandated that athletes come to sporting events LOOKING like professionals, and not like thugs. The result? The athletes looked better; played better, and the fans (many of them young) had professionals to ‘look up to’, again!
Want to be respected? Look like a professional. It WILL pay off in the end.
MIKE RAMEY is a syndicated columnist, book reviewer and Minister who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. E-mails always welcomed to firstname.lastname@example.org.