Be professional

22/10/2013 § Leave a comment

Yes, yes, I know. I have been absent. Mea culpa, truly. I am trying, as a friend of mine used to say, to fit 10 pounds of ‘stuff’ into a 5-pound bag. Feel free to convert to metric.

Anyone out there need a job?

I interrupt this unscheduled silence to point to Slate article by Laura Helmuth via Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money (an eclectic blog and excellent Zevon song). The title of the article — words to live by, actually — is ‘Don’t Be A Creep’.

The point, as Lemieux summarises, is that professional people should be professional. Helmuth:

If you are established in your career and in a position to help others, congratulations. Be as generous as you can be, and while you’re at it, remember to thank the people who helped you. But recognize that you have a tremendous responsibility to take your mentees seriously. It’s easy to forget how insecure and uninformed someone can be starting out, and it’s hard to remember that you have a lot of power in comparison, even if you have just a few years more experience or feel like a cog yourself. Be respectful, be appropriate, be professional. Above all else, do not be a creep.

This piece is a good reminder of something important. I am filing it under ‘7 skills of consulting’, because it ties in with the whole idea of those posts. My recipe for being a consultant includes cultivating a sense of restraint, sobriety, balance — professionalism. It’s also a good way to treat other people. Just because you’re Mayor of Auckland Commodore in the Navy principal investigator on a few projects doesn’t make you irresistible, regardless of what Kissinger said.

Even a little power comes with responsibility.

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