What Happened to Professionalism – or Manners?

What does it mean to be a professional?  Regardless of the business you’re in, a professional is someone who treats their clients and their vendors with respect.  That means that everyone should be mindful of his or her manners.8__CS_d_072151  Yes, manners! That may sound old fashioned but being courteous to people never goes out of style.

Some things that define a “professional”:

  • Professionals know how to get the job done, on time and on schedule.
  • Professionals don’t learn on the job.
  • A professional should respect everyone on his or her team – EVERYONE plays a part that makes the whole stronger, even the “guy” who gets coffee.
  • A professional has good manners – that usually means treating people how they wish to be treated.
  • A professional understands that situations change.  That means that the assistant you are dealing with at a magazine or ad agency may just be in a position to hire YOU some day.  Don’t burn your bridges.
  • A professional has an understanding of their clients’ position.  Understanding works both ways. Good clients who are professional will also have an understanding of what their “vendors” are up against.
  • Professionals understand that they don’t work in a vacuum – especially these days.  Bad manners don’t stay isolated – they trickle down.
  • A professional doesn’t ignore people, especially people who they depend on. We are all busy and we all have only 24 hours in our day.  That doesn’t give you a reason to ignore someone.  Unfortunately, this happens all the time, but if you have asked someone to provide you with an estimate for a job that you need to produce and they take their time to provide you with one – give them the courtesy of letting them know if they didn’t get the job.  Remember, they are helping you come up with figures you need to produce the job.  If someone invests their time to do that, don’t you think they deserve to know the outcome?

Remember, we are all connected.  We are all humans, with families, bills to pay, kids to put in college, parents who may be sick etc. etc.  Regardless if we are the one who is dangling the proverbial carrot or on the receiving end of it – I think perhaps we should realize that respect and good manners is the hallmark of a professional.


5 Replies to “What Happened to Professionalism – or Manners?”

  1. Love it Gail!!!! Respect never goes out of style! I used to teach my baseball teams that if you wanted respect, you gotta give it first! I used to yell “How do you get respect” to which the team would yell back to me (in unison)”By giving it, Sir!” I loved that. They got it! We all could use a refresher course on this topic from time to time. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. RE: ” • Professionals don’t learn on the job.”

    The premise is not absolute.

    While I believe I understand the probable premise of the statement, i.e., one should “know” [how to do] the job before accepting the job, there are situations where this does not necessarily apply.

    I submit, a professional acquires all the knowledge they can, from any source they can. There is knowledge cannot be procured from a textbook or in a classroom; some knowledge is unique to the environment in which one works that cannot be learned any other way than on the job. There are often shortcuts, loopholes, or other, more efficient, methods of getting tasks accomplished that many people create, find and share, that again, cannot be learned anywhere else than on the job. In any event, a professional will alway seek the ethical acquisition of useful knowledge, no matter where, or when it is obtained.

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