What is Professionalism…?

In preparation for a career opportunity several years ago, I considered this word and many of its possibilities. I scanned the internet and found a host of articles about the qualities of professionalism, the top seven or ten characteristics, etc., but didn’t find anything that struck me as being the essence of the word…so I came up with my own…as follows:

“Professionalism is the manner of conduct which exemplifies, enhances, and reinforces the standards of behavior, quality, and performance of the members of a given profession.”

There are, of course, many other things which can be said of the notion, but having considered quite a few of them, I find that they fit within the framework of what I have offered above.

I realize that this post is quite a bit different from my normal fare, but I’m preparing for yet another career opportunity and have been giving the topic of professionalism more focused thought and attention than I have in several years.

Many of my blog-friends and readers have been retired from the working life for several years and come from a variety of careers, so it would be interesting to learn of your ideas about how professionalism was demonstrated in your own career pursuits.

7 responses

  1. How very intriguing…
    This likely isn’t what you had in mind, but…
    “The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”
    ― Noam Chomsky 😉

    April 4, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    • Yes, Gunta, it’s a bit different and at least touching the point of intriguing. And no, your response isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it is fitting in the broader context. I have always admired Mr. Chomsky for his alternative perspectives and the boldness with which he offered them to and of the institutions in our greater society. All of that said…I thank you for your comment and the thoughts that it has provoked in my own noggin….

      April 23, 2022 at 7:24 am

  2. Your definition sounds good to me. Nothing I can add to it.

    April 5, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    • Thank you, Emilio.

      April 23, 2022 at 7:25 am

  3. Hi Scott, best of luck with that job opportunity! I was thinking about professionalism yesterday, in relation to volunteering. In one of the many jobs I held in previous years I dealt with volunteers at a NYC public garden and historical landmark. They could be frustrating to deal with because they seemed to go by different rules than those of us who were employees. We had to treat them with kid gloves, it seemed. I’m volunteering now and trying to remember how that felt, being on the other side of the equation. So I try to be reliable, to conduct myself like a professional, which in a general sense means (to me) that I respect the work. So I think respect is a good word to keep in mind. The bigger the organization, the more that gets codified and then obscured when it comes to ideas like professionalism – really, it comes down to some basic principles that are no different from ones you’d want to live by in any part of your life. My two cents this morning.

    April 23, 2022 at 10:15 am

  4. I hope you got the job!

    June 13, 2022 at 2:55 pm

  5. Liana

    this wordsmith mightily approves… and looks forward to news of your new adventure 🙂

    August 4, 2022 at 8:45 am

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