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Being professional in the workplace will help you achieve your career goals. In some cases it may make you or break you, even with a college degree.  I have been blessed with a mother who is very professional.  She taught me how to be competent and poised in life and in the workplace.  In her case she worked her way up from administrative assistant to a very sought-after financial planner for Northwestern Mutual, due to her professionalism, willingness to learn and work-ethic.

I also graduated from the Occupational Therapy program at Western Michigan University, which is a professional-based program.  Studies about the body, technique and theory are combined with the ever-pervading professional values that one is expected to uphold at all times.  Here are a few things that a lady needs to know in order to act like a professional on the job.

  • Never let your backside hang out of your pants.  If you have a very physical job, like mine, this may include wearing a tank top tucked into your pants in order to ensure that this NEVER happens.
  • Dress appropriately for the job.  If you are expected to wear scrubs, make sure you have enough pairs for the week.  If you are expected to dress business casual make sure you have plenty of khakis and shirts that do not show cleavage or arm-pits.  Clothing should be free of stains, wrinkles, holes and text (no shirts that have graphic prints advertising names like “princess”, “cutie”, etc.).  Your makeup should be flattering and natural looking.  Unless you work for a high-fashion magazine, put away the bright red lipstick and blue eye shadow during the week days.
  • Keep your phone on silent or vibrate at all times.  No one wants to hear your personalized ringtone.
  • Use proper grammar when speaking.  Nothing shouts, “I’m not a professional!” like the following sentences.

Who that be?

I ain’t got none.

I write real good.

  • Try to be a couple of minutes early for every meeting and appointment.  If you even think that you may be delayed due to conflicting work schedules then inform the correct parties of this possibility.  
  • Do not bring your personal life into your workplace!  There are situations when talking about your personal life may be appropriate, for example talking with your co-workers during a lunch break in order to build rapport.  In general though you should keep comments about your life minimal. For example, don’t complain to your boss about how you are tired because your kids were throwing up all over the place the night before or how you don’t know how you are going to make next month’s rent. 
  • If you do not know the answer to a question in the workplace say, “I don’t know the answer to that off-hand, I will look into it and get back to you right away.”  Then follow through, find the answer and get back to the person with the correct answer.
  • Be productive.  You should never be sitting on the job talking on your cell-phone or playing on the computer when it isn’t break time.  If you have a job with a lot of downtime, clear these activities with your manager first.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!  If you are unsure of what to do in any situation, ask someone!  I would rather bother someone with too many questions than do the wrong thing.  Sometimes mistakes in the workplace cannot be undone.
  • Be professional even in your social media (facebook/twitter/blogs/pinterest/etc.).  Do not talk about specifics.  I would never write about my place of employment or how well I like it there or don’t like it there.  I would not give out the name of the company either since I am a health professional.   
  • Answer emails, phone calls and texts from work promptly.
  • Do not gossip or talk about co-workers. If you have a problem with how he/she handled something at work, talk to them about it.  
  • Be kind to everyone you work with from the janitor to the CEO.
  • No job is too small to do well.  

This may seem like a lot to remember.  But once you practice these skills they start to become second-nature.  Good luck conquering the world of professionalism ladies!
Chelsea
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