A lot of people have seemed to have different opinions about the basis of being professional. Some people say that it is based on how you present or carry yourself around other people. Some say that it’s based on how you treat everyone around you. Some even say that it’s just about dressing up properly. For me, it’s a mix of all of those and more. In my opinion, being a professional means much more much more than wearing a coat and tie or having a degree. Looking like a professional does not make you one if you don’t have the right values. Being a professional in our society somehow means to be special. They are thought to have special skills, knowledge, and authority. People aspire to become a professional, but this status seems to only be acquired by having certain values. Values that come with being a professional. It’s about being neat in appearance, reliable, competent, punctual, and disciplined.
At a very young age, My peers and I were already being groomed and trained into being professionals. We were educated to respect each other and our educators. We had a lot of rules to follow which at that time I thought was just idiotic. We had strict rules with the way we dress, the way we greet our teachers, and even the way we stand. We had to wear a uniform all week, and if we didn’t have the right uniform, we wouldn’t be allowed to enter the campus. There are even mandatory haircut inspections that are conducted at least once a month. The educators would check our haircuts and if they deem it inappropriate, we had to get another one. They had all these rules that seem to just be implemented just to piss students off. Looking back now, I realized that those rules serve a purpose. Its purpose is to help prepare me to be a professional. I’ve first experienced what I think is real professionalism when I was riding a taxi about 3 years ago. I was visiting a friend and I gave a taxi driver a particular address. In the middle of the ride, I noticed that he was struggling to find the destination I gave him. We had to make a few U-turns and he kept apologizing to me for the inconvenience. When we finally arrived, I looked at the meter and it said $8. I had my wallet out and was about to give him $8 when he said: “It’s only $6, sir.” I asked him why he’s only asking me for $6 when the meter clearly says $8. He said “I’m a driver, sir. My job is to bring you straight to the right destination. Since I didn’t know the exact spot, I had to take a longer route. If I brought you straight here, the meter would have read $6. I wouldn’t let you pay for my stupidity.” He said, “Sir, I can claim $8 legally, but ethically I can only take $6.” He even added that Boracay is a tourist destination and many people come here for three or four days. After getting out of the plane and the airport, he says that the first experience is always with the taxi driver and if that is not good, the remaining days of vacation would not be pleasant either. He said, “Sir, I am only a taxi driver, but I still represent our nation.” In my opinion, he probably didn’t graduate in college, but to me, he was a real professional. His behavior showed real professionalism. It reflected his honesty and integrity. That day I realized that professionalism can still be shown even if you don’t have professional qualifications.
Studies have shown that professionalism in our country has been declining in recent years. There’s reason to believe that it will only continue to decline unless we change our habits and attitudes in response to the decline of professionalism. We need to maintain a commitment to aid our people, especially our youth, to become professionals. The greatest asset of professionals is specialized knowledge and ethical values. The professional’s greatest role is to use the specialized knowledge he acquired for the benefit of other people with honesty and integrity. As I’ve experienced the life here in America, I really believe that people seem to lack professionalism. A problem exists when more than 50% of our young workforce has never held a paying job. Adults might just be postponing the young people’s entry into adulthood, but lengthening their adolescence never prepared young people in the past for real life. Despite technological advances, our generation’s youth lack some of the soft skills that are needed in order to become professionals: determination, reliability, discipline, and commitment. The main factor is the lack of discipline of our youth. We live in a society where kids are not disciplined enough.
Another problem with our youth is that they believe they can multitask and still be productive. I think that the unprecedented technology that we have now might be the imposter. Technology causes our youth workers to be unprofessional. We are influenced by so many distractions daily that are caused by technology. There are countless distractions now that the former generations didn’t have. We have messaging, social media, tv shows, and games which distracts us from doing productive things. The way teenagers use technology can cause major problems in school and even at work. Multitasking is the culprit for the lack of focus among younger workers. Our generation believes that it is possible to multitask effectively and that using social media is an efficient way to communicate. For me, there are two types of societies, religious and secular. Having experienced living in both of these kinds of societies, I noticed those religious societies are much more disciplined. They train their children in the traditional ways to be more like professionals in order to prepare them to be a functional part of the society. Growing up in a structured and regimented community, I experienced the kind of strictness which is needed in order to mold individuals into becoming real professionals. They have taught me the values that I believe has helped me have the right mindset. They taught me that Knowledge, Skill, Money, Education, Money, all comes later. What comes first is Human Values, Honesty, and Integrity. Some people might seem like professionals because they have those fancy degrees, but if they do not possess these basic human values, they can never exhibit real professionalism.