A humorous example took place at a social function when I told my friend about particular guest:
“That Person is very professional,” I said to my innocent friend pointing at the guest.
“What?” my innocent friend looked at me in surprise, “No, no, he is not professional. He’s a businessman!”
Well, I resisted the strong temptation to laugh at his ignorantly innocent remark. And it also set me thinking.
What’s the immediate vision that flashes in your mind as you read the title of this article? Most probably it’s a person with a clean-shaved face, well-combed hair, impeccably dressed in formals, his looks accentuated by a well-knotted tie, a pair of sparkling black shoes giving the aura of a poised personality proficient in a particular area. Isn’t it?
Well, our mind generally projects a professional person as the one having expertise in a particular area – especially in areas of Laws, Legalities or Technicalities. Ask a Chartered Accountant or Lawyer or Engineer or a Doctor about their occupation. The common reply – “I am in profession!” Of course, if we expand the category, the Bollywood or Hollywood actors are also professional. But that definitely doesn’t mean that businessmen aren’t professional. That doesn’t mean that street-vendors selling their eatables are not professional.
Speaking broadly, Professional is not a term to be associated only with a set of academic degrees or diplomas or certificates a person possesses. It is also not to be associated only by the formal clothes a person wears. The term “professional” has a wider influence and broader implications.
If I name two personalities – one is the President of a country and another is the President of a terrorist group – and you are asked which one of them is professional? The correct answer would be both. Oh, yes, you read it right! Both are professionals in their own ways irrespective of the ethicality or morality of the deeds done by them.
So what does the term “Professional” really means? Oh, I know, you would grab a dictionary and read it as follows: a person who does a job that needs special training and a high level of education; a person who has a lot of skill and experience. But that’s not a holistic definition. Let us boldly step beyond the boundary of the dictionary into the arena of broader horizons.
Mr. Gupta is an expert lawyer, having a penchant and passion for law and has won many judicial cases to his client’s favor. He is quite successful among his clients but is equally unsuccessful at home. His absolute obsession for law distances him completely from his family. This example tries to shed light on the fact that Professionalism is not just confined to the walls of your office but has its sway in every wake of your life. Here, Mr. Gupta might be professional as a lawyer but is definitely not professional as a member of his family. Holistic Professionalism is the buzzword buzzing in the current era. It means that a person should maintain a healthy balance in the areas of Occupation, Family and Society. If that is the case, then a person can be said to be truly professional.
You might hear from people that professionalism comes with a price. The price is the prohibition that you adopt to prevent yourself from doing certain activities. For instance, a High-Class lawyer attends a marriage of his close cousin. The ambience there is full of festivity, fun and humour. But, instead of enjoying with others, that lawyer cuts himself off. His ego and reputation prevents him to get along with the good fun. The result - Eventually, people start branding him as killjoy and spoilsport and avoid him. Overnight, the lawyer has turned from a Legal-Lawyer to a Party-pooper!
You might have got the lesson from the above example. Professionalism certainly does not mean that certain things are ‘below your belt’. A woefully wrong concept!
A Holistic Professional knows the right time and the right place when certain things are to be done and that too in the right way. That person knows when, where and how: to speak or be silent; to laugh or be serious; to be kind or strict; and so on.
As a conclusion, being professional is to keep adapting yourself to every sphere of life with balance and flexibility. How you carry yourself and adapt tactfully to various situation with grace, poise and style is the wholesome mantra of a holistic professional.
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