The phrase “sounds good, doesn’t work” is exactly how the terminology of ‘professional’ should be. A lot of what we humans seem to be doing in the name of it being professional, doesn’t quite make sense. It might be a cult, rather a religion. And just like every religion it makes a person do irrational things. Losing the essential quality of a person being a human.
Preach the Gospel
The whole practice of being professional relies heavily on conformity to a particular culture. This culture may be dissimilar at different places but follows certain basics which we seem to be obsessed with. A person being more professional is highly valued and talked of in a good light. This reward mechanism makes people in a social system to compete over being more ‘professional’ and hence gather the rewards. This behavior may have been originally been put to place as a means of having uniformity and avoiding obscene behavior in the workplace, but the usage has now shifted in a contrary path.
Human resources did dehumanize us by firstly calling humans a resource. People with experience have usually cited out that HR doesn’t really help employees with their issues. HR is usually a blunt end with a fixed set of pointers called rules and guidelines which they follow. A number of bureaucrats sticking to ‘professional’ means of dealing with human issues is what has become of the profession. The issue has become so common that we have satirical articles such as “Reasons why employees hate HR”.
The issue when extending to sales has given people the negative stigma of insurance salesmen. And to a good extent this stigma has been true as being ‘professional’ in doing sales is indifferent from talking to a robot. It takes a human to understand another.
Countries with hot climate still have people wearing suits. Even after years of independence, in India suits are considered a depiction of class. This doesn’t make sense, given the fact that British came from a much colder region. The obsession still exists and is completely irrational. Wanting employees and students to walk around profusely sweating in coats shows our contribution to the etymology of the word ‘cummerbund’ (kamar + bandh) and our fixation with aping Western measures of ranking. Most of us wear ties without knowing the purpose and reason behind it (there is pretty much none).
With the whole new era work-from-home routine, people have been questioning on why they have to wear suits while chatting with their fellow colleagues. Pretending to not be human at a time of crisis has an impact on one’s mental health and productivity. Bureaucratic structures are reluctant to change and often take the easy traditional way. But for an individual, not following the godly image of what a ‘professional’ behaves like can go a longer way.