OMG! – What Happened to Professionalism?


Today’s world is filled with all sorts of technological advances and modern day miracles that have made life easier and more casual. The lines between personal and professional lives have become extremely blurred. These events have led to a new social order where manners, personal interactions, and business norms seem like a thing of the past.

Recent studies have shown that approximately 20% of Millennials tend to display overly casual and bizarre behavior in the business world. The article,Managers to Millennials: Job Interview No Time to Text, describes a few of the worst scenarios that have taken place during interviews. This same article tells how many of these Millennials continue with their unprofessionalism the first year on the job.

Sadly, from what I have witnessed, it is not just Millennials that have the “unprofessional bug”! During the workshops I conduct, I have witnessed crimes such as arriving late, dressing unprofessionally, having side conversations during instruction, disrupting class with inappropriate comments and questions, forgetting / refusing to turn off cell phone ringers, and answering calls in the room. These faux pas are being committed by job seekers of all ages, in a wide range of occupations, and at varying levels of the career spectrum.

Here are a few tips to help you keep it professional:
• PUNCTUALITY – BE ON TIME! If for some reason you can’t help but be late, try to let affected parties know of the issue, then come in quietly and without creating a stir.
• DRESS FOR SUCCESS – Dress not for the job you have (or currently don’t have), but the position you are trying to get. Keep in mind that every time you meet someone it could lead to a job. How do you want to be remembered?
• BE COURTEOUS – When someone is talking, listen; when someone asks a question, answer; when someone smiles, smile back; when someone has a schedule to adhere to, don’t throw them off track.
• COMMUNICATION –Avoid slang both in writing and verbally; stay on topic; consider your audience and time constraints.
• CELL PHONES – Anytime you are entering a place of business, meeting, interview, class, or just having a discussion with another person, make sure your phone is either not with you, on silent, or at the very least on vibrate.
• TAKING CALLS – If you really must take the call immediately, excuse yourself from your current setting in an unobtrusive manner. Go to a “quiet corner” away from the main flow of people to concentrate on your call and do not disturb others.
• THINK – If you are unsure as to whether to say or do something, or if it seems like it might not be okay, or it could be considered strange by some, the best bet is to keep it to yourself – don’t do it!

In our constantly changing world, some things do remain the same. Having manners, treating others with respect, and not being rude will never go out of style! Make sure YOUR manners don’t take a back seat. Rest assured, professionalism is alive and well in the 21st Century!

Bobi Cook is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She currently conducts job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region utilizing her MBA and over ten cumulative years experience as a professional educator, quality systems manager within the automotive industry, and small business administrator to help job seekers develop and implement successful job search campaigns.



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