Is there a need to be professional in the many things that people do? If you are going to ask an employee in a large corporation the same question, the answer would be obvious. He or she will respond with a yes since his wages and his length of service in the company depends on his professionalism. If he does not act professional enough, there is a high chance that he might not do well in his work. As a result, he might get fired from his job and might be booted out from other jobs he applies due to his bad track record. What about the average individual? Does the average person need a sense of professionalism in the simplest of the things that he does?
I can think of several reasons why even the average person should be professional in the actions that he or she does in every day life. For one, having that sense of professionalism in the things that we do everyday may tend to condition ourselves to act that way normally. Over the course of time, we become habituated to our professional actuations that we no longer need to think about our actions before we enact them. As a result, we will normally act in a professional way in every situation.
Perhaps we might become more habituated to becoming individuals with a deep sense of professionalism if we start at a younger age. For instance, training children to behave in a professional way at such a young age can instill in their minds that professionalism should take a major role in our actions. In whatever we do, children will be very much familiar with the thought that we should behave according to what is expected from us. As the child grows older, I reckon he or she will act professionally more and more naturally as if all the while the individual knew that he was acting professionally. It is important to show and teach individuals a deep regard for professionalism even at a young age as it will help them a lot when they grow up and when they enter the world of adults.
Another reason why professionalism is important especially for the average individual is that it enables him to please those around him or it allows him to meet the expectations of others. More importantly, even the person fails to meet the expectations of other even though he acted professionally, I think the fact that he acted professionally gives him the benefit of being relieved of the heavier stress of being blamed for everything else. For example, I have been asked by my parents to clean the house during the weekend since they will be away for a short business trip. They expect to see the house clean and well-ordered by the time they return. They also know that I have an exam in one of my school subjects the following day after they have returned from their business trip. While they were away, I managed to clean several parts of the house although I was not able to clean some other areas because I decided to study for my school subject. By the time my parents have returned home, they noticed that some parts of the house were yet to be cleaned. After being asked why, I responded that I balanced my time reviewing for my class exam and cleaning the house. I also said to them that both of the two tasks were equally important which made me decide to spend equal amounts of time completing both tasks.
The example I have given is just one simple way of illustrating the sense of professionalism. Although I was not able to fully meet the expectations of my parents in the example given, I am quite certain I would not be heavily blamed for failing to clean the house since I have spent a portion of my time doing another worthwhile activity. Put in another way, I would not get to be largely blamed for being unable to clean the garage while my parents were away, for instance, since I studied my lecture notes for my high school physics class.
Another reason why professionalism is important is that it helps us become better individuals if not for others at least for ourselves. While we are training ourselves become professional in the things that we do, some other traits can be developed. For example, office employees may develop the traits of perseverance and diligence while mastering their roles in the office and meeting the tasks required from their positions. A corporate desk relations officer may learn the virtues of kindness and hospitality while practicing his professions according to what is expected from him by his superiors. An accountant in the accounting department of a financial institution may be able to learn the trait of punctuality while performing his duty as an accountant through his on-time submissions of monthly financial reports. In essence, we can learn many other things as we try to act professionally in our daily lives. The many other things that we learn in the process can be of great value for us some time in the future.
For some people, reaching their aspirations in life is already a great achievement in itself. However, the road to their dreams may not be a smooth path since there will always be hardships and challenges along the way. For instance, being a student in a police academy is no small and easy situation to handle. There are many rigorous physical activities and mental trainings that would have to be first surpassed before advancing to the higher stages of the police academy. One of the many things that a student is taught in the academy is developing the trait of professionalism.
Teaching professionalism comes in many forms, and some of the ways to learn the trait may not explicitly tell you that you will be learning that trait. For example, the completion of paper works and other graded requirements in the class should be strictly followed. Late submissions are certain to earn low marks or even failing grades. The reward and punishment system for the academic requirements teaches students to always see to it that they are able to submit their well-crafter works on-time. At the same time, the students in the academy develop the habit of ensuring for themselves that they handle their various tasks punctually and with good quality. In essence, the students in the police academy learn the trait of professionalism along the way. Like the finest piece of shaped clay that is thrown into the hottest furnace for it to turn into an impressive piece of pottery, the pressures of being a part of the police academy is needed so that the students will have a bright future ahead of them, one of which is that they turn-out as law enforcers who perform their duties professionally.
Since graduates of the police academy are expected to enter the law enforcing agencies of the government after graduating, it is important that they likewise become professional police officers. If these graduates of the police academy do not become professionals before becoming full-pledged police officers and even by the time they already become practicing law enforcers, I think that they will have a difficult time fulfilling their roles and meeting the expectations of both the public and their fellow police officers. For example, students who lack the trait of professionalism may become corrupt police officers who receive bribes from fugitives because they are unable to fulfill their sworn duties. In the end, those who are sworn to protect and to serve to the fullest extent of the law may become the same individuals who are bound to break the law first before anybody else.
It is therefore important to train the students in the police academy to become professionals in their future job. Not only does it help them become better individuals for the society, it also helps them become good role models for the public. Professionalism in the field of law enforcement is important because it preserves the integrity of police officers and of the entire police department. Similarly, professionalism in the police academy among the students is also important because it is the first step towards becoming reputable police officers in the future. The development of the trait of professionalism should likewise begin right at the time when these future law enforcers are still inside the police academy so that they will have the time to learn that trait while balancing it with academic life.
Indeed, if professionalism is already important for the average individual, what more for aspiring law enforcers or for any other individual aspiring to become what he wants to be in the future? That being said, I am assuming that professionalism is all the more important for people holding certain types of professions. But that is not to say that professionalism is not important at all for the average person. The point that I am trying to make is that we get to appreciate the value of professionalism as we progress towards our aspirations of becoming professionals at one point in our lives. I think we realize the importance of professionalism as we become closer to becoming professionals because professionalism goes hand-in-hand with all types of jobs. Once we become employed, it should also be the time when we already know the importance of professionalism. It should also be the time when we are already able to practice it and incorporate it with our daily tasks.
While being a part of the police academy, I think being unemployed as of yet should not be an excuse to not act professionally. Rather, I think that professionalism should already be a part of the student’s daily routine in the academy without being selective as to whom you will want to show professionalism. That should not be the case. It is important that, as a part of the academy, the student should try to show professionalism to everybody else at any given time. The world outside of the academy does not select the time as to when and where we should display our sense of professionalism. I think it is entirely better to prepare for the world outside the police academy while still inside the academy, one of which is to practice professionalism until it becomes a natural behavior, from completing assigned tasks on-time to fulfilling responsibilities with utmost diligence.
Hyland, T. (1996). Professionalism, Ethics and Work-Based Learning. British Journal of Educational Studies, 44(2), 168-180.