Recent events have got me thinking about something that, believe it or not, I don’t really think about all time: professional behavior.
A lot of people associate that phrase, “professional behavior” with how you behave in an office environment—or while at work in retail, or the teaching or medical professions.
However, “professional behavior” is an ideal to strive toward regardless of whether one works in an office or store or school or hospital, or if one works for oneself in any capacity—say, a small plumbing business fixing toilets, or even as an author.
What is professional behavior? I went looking online for a really good definition, because how I perceive that characteristic—at least right now as I am writing this, in a far from objective frame of mind—may in fact be colored by that very bias to which I have just confessed.
I don’t often quote others in these essays, but I came across some excellent words written by someone else. The website where I found those words is here: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5182757_definition-professional-behavior.html#page=1 and you can click on that link or copy and paste the url into your browser and read the entire not very long article. The author is credited as being Lynda Moultry Belcher. Here is what it says on that site about Ms. Moultry-Belcher: Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.
This author indeed bears the necessary credentials to have a few words to say on the subject of professional behavior. The section of the article that caught my eye reads as follows:
“It is important to remain professional at all times when engaged in a business environment, whether for a company or your own business. Being professional not only lets people know you are a reputable person to work with, but also conveys intelligence and poise regarding your position. People who are professional are unfailingly polite, courteous and well-spoken, no matter what the situation. Being professional means you keep your cool and remain calm under any circumstances. No matter how upset a co-worker or customer makes you, you don't react; you deal with the situation rationally and calmly. Not everyone places an emphasis on professional behavior. When this happens, it's important that you still remain businesslike and not react to this adverse behavior. Instead, remain professional, no matter what the behavior is of those around you.”
I believe that this is sound advice, and applies to all people who make their living from the good graces of other people. That includes writers, don’t you think?
My personal take is that it not only includes us, we’re a group that should be particularly mindful of the way we are perceived by our peers, our contracted professional associates, and our readers.
I am a logical person, even though I am an author of erotic romance. I could wave the “artiste” flag, I suppose. There are those who would say that after having published 32 books, with the 33rd being in the hands of my publisher, I’m entitled to be a bit of a diva.
But I never believed that having talent, or being published, or having an audience excused bad manners, or tacky actions or rudeness of any kind.
I therefore have some advice to those who need it. I will even give that advice in a way that’s plain, and simple, and logical: Words of edification will never come back and bite you in the ass.