Professionalism Today.

I think that professionalism is a continual learning process. Not just by students, but also seasoned professionals, professionalism is learning, understanding and integrating not just technical skills and specific knowledge, but also responsibility, respect, and leadership for yourself, co-workers, and clients. In a world that is so technology-focused it can be difficult to practice and develop this professionalism.

Currently I work for the the technology unit of the Forest Service. Unlike the HR and Finance units, the Tech unit of the FS is scattered across the U.S. I’ve worked with people for years, on a daily bases, who I’ve never met or seen in person. My core team is located in 6 different states. Yes, due to our tech-advanced world I am able to Skype or video conference my fellow co-workers, but working with people who you see and interact in person daily with versus working with people that you email and talk through phone and video calls is extremely different.

Not having in-person human interaction really tests the development of professionalism. It’s hard to be responsible, gain and give respect, and lead when you’ve never seen or met the person you are working with or for. Which is why continual learning and evolving is needed in order to be professional. I don’t think there are any guidelines or lists that you can follow in order to be professional, but you have to cultivate your own definition of professionalism that both benefits you and those you work with and for.

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