Being a Professional
By Stephen Bucaro
One major difference between a slacker and successful person is that the slacker
is just there to put in the time and collect the paycheck, while the successful
person presents themself as a professional. Below is a short list of things you
must do to be professional.
• be on time
• have perfect attendance
• dress appropriately
• socialize wisely
• speak correctly
Some people advise that to be successful you must arrive early and leave late. The
problem with this advice is that spending too much time at work can lead to burnout
and burnout does not result in success at work. In my experience, arriving at work
early has little value. That's because nobody is there to see you. Even if your boss
arrives early before working hours, they won't be disappointed if they can't find
you before working hours start.
On the other hand, if your boss comes looking for you right as working hours start
and they can't find you, that's not good. So it's important to arrive at work on time,
but not necessarily too early. On the other hand, staying late at work after most people
have gone home does contribute greatly to your success at work.
At the end of the workday, if there's still work to be done, and there always is,
people feel guilty going home when others are still working, and the person who feels
the most guilty is the boss. Even though the boss usually can't perform the work themself,
they are the one responsible. But the boss can leave with a clear conscience if he sees a
dedicated employee staying late to take care of business.
But there is a special technique to staying late for success. You can't just be standing
around chatting at the end of the work day. No matter how much time you spent socializing
during the day, as quitting time approaches, you need to make sure everyone sees you
deeply involved in productive work. And it would be really great if, when you came in
the next morning you had some stay late accomplishment to brag about.
But even if you didn't actually accomplish anything by staying late, mention to as
may co-workers (and hopefully your boss) that you worked on this or that late after
work yesterday. You don't actually need to stay very long to get credit for staying
late at work, just ten minutes after almost everyone else has gone home.
Have Perfect Attendance
Put yourself in the company's position. You have work to be completed, and you hire
someone to do the job, but they don't show up for work. You've got to be thinking, this
person is not working out. I need to find someone who will actually be here all the
time to do the work.
It's irrelevant to your employer if your excuses for not coming to work are legitimate
or not. They still need someone to be there every day to do the job. And, except in rare
circumstances like a death in the family, excuses usually have more to do with the employee's
poor life management than with legitimate reasons for not coming to work.
I'm not saying you should not use your vacation time benefits, as this could lead to burnout
and burnout does not result in success at work. But, whether you need to take work time
off for emergency reasons or for vacation, always make sure you have made provisions
for someone else to take over any critical parts of your job.
Dressing Appropriately for Work
Every business has a company culture, and part of this culture is the dress code. If you
work in an office area where customers come as a matter of business, you must dress in
a more upscale manner. Shorts and flip flops are not allowed in this type of area.
You must wear appropriate business attire, and men may be required to wear a tie.
If you're a service person, you'll probably be required to wear the company uniform.
Today many companies that don't normally have customers in the work area allow their
employees to dress casually, thinking that comfortable employees are more productive.
Other companies have special days when employees are allowed to dress casually, like
In these circumstances, you don't want to dress in full business attire when everyone
else is dressing casual. This might make you stand out as someone who is "sucking up".
However, you also don't want to be the one who dresses the most frumpy and casual. Survey
what your co-workers are wearing and dress just a little better than the best dressed
coworkers. You still want your boss to know that you're serious about work.