Professionalism can be defined in the strict sense as the process of executing daily tasks in a specific, competent and accepted manner guided by the set standards (Freidson, 2005).
The required standards are determined by one’s environment, self and career and set by other succeeding professionals who have been on or are on the same field.
It is generally evaluated through simple daily undertakings that involve timekeeping and management, dressing code, walking style, problem-solving approaches and so on.
Professionalism is to be determined by several factors which can fall into three categories; self-discipline, surroundings, and one’s career. Self-discipline involves a person’s decision. It’s the key to professionalism and a major determinant in the extent of one’s professionalism.
Self-discipline also determines the kind of knowledge and skills as well as intelligence a professional will have on the field of study and the total output (Freidson, 2005). It takes a long period for one to acquire it but a shorter period for one to lose it.
A person surrounding especially when young plays a key role in the profession that he/she will develop to be. It instills a sense of self-discipline and career choice from the parents and the people that he/she is exposed to.
This also affects an individual’s movement since it is a secondary determinant that affects the primary one. Different careers have different ethical considerations that determine and set standards for one’s professionalism.
This remains the least determinant of career at the early stage but a major one at the advanced stage. This is when one specializes in what he/she wants to be in life.
It is possible to be professional in whatever one is engaged in during the day to day activities. As a student, I can exhibit the characteristics of a real professional. I plan my work in order of their priorities and execute them without any delay.
The schedule of activities to be done is reflected in my diary, and I usually do not allow anything to interfere with my plan. However, unforeseen circumstances may necessitate alterations and the lost time has to be compensated at some point in time.
This has been brought about by my realization that if there is no plan of activities, a lot of time is lost doing virtually nothing. My plan is divided into short term goals and long term goals. Short term goals include daily, weekly and monthly activities.
In the long term goals, I have included major activities of the term and what I intend to have achieved at the end. In this plan also are the goals that I wish to accomplish by the end of the year. This gives me a clear outline of the way forward in all my undertakings.
The manner of dressing as well as the type of clothes I wear usually reflects professionalism. It is not uncommon to see how some people will not take their dressing code seriously and just put on anything regardless of what people may say or think about them.
Many young people do not regard school as a formal place where the manner of dressing is much concern. While in school, I pay attention to the context and try to dress accordingly. I usually want to be as professional as possible.
When it comes to dealing with problems, I make attempts to use the most appropriate approach to solve them. Professionalism calls for the use of the most effective problem-solving approaches to address various issues.
Furthermore, the need to find and stand by the truth in all matters my major characteristic. I usually do not take things blindly without inquiring for details to understand the matter from an informed perspective.
In most cases, when convinced beyond any reasonable doubt, my ‘No’ is ‘No’, and ‘Yes’ is ‘Yes.’ On matters of performance, I usually set very high expectations for my self to be on toes to attain the set standards.
To enhance professionalism, I have realized that I have to identify my field of specialization and learn more about what is expected in the formal profession. This is to nurture the necessary qualities that will prepare me for the job besides the academic qualification.
This is possible through research work of what is required and setting of goals which must be in line with the expectations. A good plan of the goals will enable one to develop his/her profession based on the time frame and focus.
Personal evaluation is important to ensure one is on track. Furthermore, role models will assist professionals especially the upcoming ones to achieve professionalism in their respective fields.
Freidson, E. (2005). Professionalism as a concept (2nd ed). University of Chicago Press