These days, work is hard to come by. It is important to be seen as a professional if you want to be considered. Far too many people have given up on professionalism. During this time of Covid, we have learned to settle for much less than our best.
Right now, employers are happy if workers just show up. Punctuality is optional. We have all encountered people during this pandemic that seemed to just be sleepwalking through the job and going through the motions. Our own skills are likely going rusty as well. We have all lost some of our edge.
The worst part about it is that the longer we go on this way, the tougher it will be to get it back when we need it. There will always be someone who takes the job more seriously, who is more dedicated, and hungrier for success. We have to get back to fighting form and be the professionals that we once were. If you are wondering if you are ready to get back out there and take whatever life throws at you, do this self-assessment:
Do You Look the Part?
Are you still sporting an unkempt, pandemic beard? Is everyday a bad hair day? Have pajama pants become the new business casual? If you answered yes to any of these things, that is not a good sign.
If you were a door to door sales person, would you show up to a house call with your car in its current condition? Or would you need to visit an Illinois body shop first to get it back into a condition befitting a professional? If you don’t feel the part, you are not going to bother going through the effort to look the part. And if you don’t bother to look the part, no one is going to mistake you for a professional.
Mediocrity might get you through the pandemic. However, now is the time to practice what it is you want to be when this is all over. If you want to successfully take advantage of professional opportunities when they come your way, you have to look the part.
Do You Love What You Do?
Has everyday become an unbearable grind? Do you greet each morning with dread? Do you find yourself doing more complaining about the job than you do saying nice things about the job? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might not love what you do. And if you don’t love what you do, it is almost impossible to do it professionally.
One of the reasons we still love watching celebrities like Keanu Reeves is that he still loves what he does. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. But he takes his job very seriously. Love for your work is both obvious and infectious.
A professional never leaves the impression that she would rather be doing something else. She exudes a certain excitement about the day’s possibilities. She also doesn’t shy away from certain tasks. There is no such thing as grunt work. If you find yourself unenthused about much of your day’s schedule, consider finding another job. You can’t be a true professional if you hate what you do.
Do You Look for Ways to Improve?
No one knows everything about the job they do, even if they are great at doing it. No one has arrived. We are all on a journey. People who are great at what they do are always looking for ways to be even better. And there are plenty of ways to be constantly improving.
You don’t need a white collar job to be a professional. You don’t have to carry a briefcase, or wear a business suit, or do your work from a corner office. Being a professional is more about attitude than occupation. You know you are a true professional if you look the part, love what you do, and always continue to improve.