You’ve heard people say, “So and so is unprofessional.” You’ve probably said it. It gets said a lot.
The phrase can mean a number of things: among others, someone is incompetent, or someone behaves like an idiot or inappropriately.
Here’s the thing about the word “professional” (and by extension its nasty cousin, “unprofessional”): It is a vague catch all for behaviours or outcomes we don’t like.
The misuse – the vague nature of this word – has had a deleterious effect on a number of things. Most notable, are expression and play in work environments.
Expression, including swearing, is perfectly acceptable at work.
Play at work is antidote to stress and a way to breed camaraderie.
But some people freak if you engage in either behaviour.
- Get things done at work despite circumstances outside of it that may be rough.
- Make learning – especially about their craft – part of their daily routine.
- Ship regularly and without fear of failure.
- Understand that people think and view the world differently and respect this.
- Have discipline.
- Understand that emotion is part of life.
- Understand that play is essential to a good working environment.
What I am saying is that “professional” does not mean buttoned down, tight assed, boring, edgeless, or bland. Quite the contrary in fact.
What do you think?