The criteria of professionalism varies depending on your field of work which makes it difficult to address why there is no one set way of being the “status-quo” professional. Throughout my undergraduate years, I held many positions that required me to dress and act differently based on the company or service being provided. The spectrum ranged from less casual, business casual to high-end. This led me to my question:
what is professionalism, really?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of professionalism is:
- the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.
- the following of a profession (as athletics) for gain or livelihood.
Here is a more in-depth breakdown of this list. The best thing to do in a new work setting is:
- Ask your supervisor about professionalism and how you’re doing.
- What does professionalism in your work environment consists of?
Instead of assuming, it is best to have a definite answer to ensure that there is no confusion on your part. You should have regular one-on-one scheduled meetings (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) with your supervisor and annual performance reviews. These meetings will give you a real-time review of the work you are doing.You should have regular one-on-one scheduled meetings with your supervisor and annual performance reviews. Click To Tweet
- Ask for an employee handbook.
What is better than having your own tangible copy of your job’s 411? You can use it as a resourceful tool to make sure you know how to treat others, how others should treat you in your work place.
- Make an observation.
- What do you see in your work place?
- How do your co-workers dress?
- How does people conduct business?
- What are common mannerisms amongst your co-workers?
- What role does your position play within the company?
What does professionalism mean to you?
Let’s talk about it on twitter! Tweet me @thejastalk. Have any questions on professional development? Ask them here: