We’re not born professionals. We’re made to cultivate that trait, from a very young age, in order to get on with (the rest of) our lives without ruffling feathers or stirring the hornet’s nest. We get well-versed in turning a blind eye to things we know are wrong, and also those that we do not fully understand. In the name of professionalism we sail through a lifetime without even exercising our power to question. The right answer is just the right question away. Mankind, perhaps, should stop looking for answers and start looking for questions instead.
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Professionalism, as we practise it today, is designed to keep the machineries of economy well-oiled. Perhaps due to its coinage, the word finds meaning only in those aspects of our life that are about a job, a career, and financial security. But fine character, unlike professionalism, benefits all aspects of life. Building a fine character is our primary obligation in life. When we develop a strong character, we will automatically become rightly professional in attending to the call of duty. Here are three ways professionalism can come in the way of you building your character:
Professionalism may at times ask you to be an unreasonable and unjust judge. It may blind you from seeing things objectively (looking at business benefits alone is not an objective POV. It is a subjective POV). It may restrict you to the middle path, and to a neutral state – a state of no movement and inaction. True professionalism is calling a spade a spade. To side with a wrong decision in the name of professionalism is a shame.
If your idea of professionalism is about being a ‘Yes Man’, you may be putting yourself in a bad place both physically and mentally. This idea of professionalism could breed an unhealthy subservience and cowardice that will greatly hinder career growth.
If in the name of professionalism, you forego being human to your team, you are more likely to be awarded the ‘most-hated’ tag. With career taking a huge portion of our lives, it would be unwise to live with an ill reputation and animosity at the work place.
Character is perhaps the old-world word for professionalism. If character building is emphasised from a very young age, people will not make the mistake of subscribing to the wrong idea of professionalism, but will let their character shine through in their professional lives.