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Have Young Professionals Forgotten How to be…Professional?

Our culture puts a high value on the “personal right of individual expression”, especially for people in the younger generation. These teens and twenty-somethings are the emerging American workforce, and are increasingly wrestling with the boundaries of professionalism.

suit and tie

In a recent article from TLNT, author Eric Chester discussed how this trend is becoming a problem for business leaders:

He explains that the biggest frustration many leaders experience with the emerging workforce comes from a seeming unwillingness on the part of these workers to dress and act like professionals. The examples of “unprofessionalism” heard about most often generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Appearance. Don’t think this is just a problem for those who employ low-wage, frontline workers. In 2010, Swiss banking giant UBS gave employees at five of its offices a 43-page dress code that detailed what its staff could and couldn’t wear.
  • LanguageProfanity, vulgarity, and obscenity are commonplace in the vocabulary of many members of the emerging workforce, and all too often they don’t turn it off or even dial it down when they get to work.
  • Manners. This big umbrella covers common courtesies. Are your workers opening doors for others? Allowing others to speak without interruption? Calling their supervisors Mr. or Ms until given permission to go with a first name?
  • OvertnessAnyone that has an opinion now has a platform to share it, thanks to the advent of social media. They’ve been raised to believe that if they have something to say or an interesting take on a popular topic, they’d be depriving the world if they “didn’t put it out there.”

What workers must realize is the idea that part of their job is to help promote the image of the organization rather than their personal image. When this idea is embraced by workers, they are more inclined to dress the part, speak the part, and act out the part that the job requires.

That’s professionalism in its truest sense.

Read more here.




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