business, unsorted opinions

Musings on Professionalism

Some work, no matter how much time and effort you have put into it, no matter how much you think people will enjoy it, just does not fit the standard of professionalism. There’s something about professionalism that is very key to it being professionalism: it gives people a good impression that they are or could be working with someone who knows what they are doing and can and will provide a high quality service. It isn’t about creating something so grandiose that people will doubt whether you can repeat it or not. It isn’t about establishing a personal style that people shopping on a corner might take interest in for a moment. It’s about conforming to a set standard that makes people feel comfortable doing business with you.

Unfortunately, this set standard can, and often has, been abused. And the internet is now filled with spam sites and junk that mimic the professional standards. Website templates are cheap these days – roughly $30 – and people are becoming accustomed to seeing such trash that legitimate websites don’t look much better. Printed items are on the safer side because that costs more money per person in your intended audience. Still, with the internet growing, it isn’t likely that paper products will be the first thing people encounter.

Professionalism has its perks, oddities, and impracticalities. For example, the custom of stringing a colored noose around one’s neck merely to add a closing touch and a tinge of color to an otherwise bland and strict dress apparel is impractical insomuch as does nothing more for the individual than add weight. The perk is that it helps one conform the same standard as everyone else, associating the small and big alike and allowing them to communicate an aura of respect between each other and their customers. More impracticalities can be found in table manners, which require individuals to unnecessarily expend extra energy to perform tasks that could otherwise be performed in a polite manner that does not require as many calories. But it is done for the sake of appearing “refined” or more polite. However, in recent years, there has been a definite trend towards more casual activities within companies even if towards each other they maintain a pseudo-constant standard.

Standards, by nature, aren’t supposed to change. If they do, it is because whoever holds them in place has decided to change them. In this way, we come full circle to products, which are themselves in some way compared to a standard. One company rarely sells products – no matter how good they are – that do not conform to its own particular standard. This standard, of course, seems to be invisible or undefined, and yet if something steps outside of that standard, it is clearly noticeable.

Change of subject, without changing the topic…

All of this came to my head as I was debating about what to put on my own website. I have quite a few works – some good, some not so good – but even the best ones, delightful as they may be, don’t really match the style or invisible standard that I’ve set for myself on this particular website. Thus, creation of new content – something that fits the standard, is a necessity for the standard to be maintained and at the same time reveal to the world and to myself what I am capable of now, not just what I was capable of when I created those treasured works of mine.

Hence, as a word of advice, don’t be afraid of creating new works that are just as good if not better than what you’ve already done but that fit the standard you set for yourself. If it isn’t fun, chances are you should probably be doing something else with your life.

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