This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Being professional at work

One of the things that was raised at our weekly meeting this week was our professionalism at work. The partners were discussing ways to raise the level of professionalism in the office - internally and externally - in order to safeguard our reputation.

I hadn't really thought about that before as I'd always thought of our office as being relaxed- but suddenly realised that I needed to be careful. It's difficult, though, to know what is appropriate behaviour and when something that is fun becomes unprofessional. It's one of those things that I think I will get more of a feel for when I've been working for a little while longer.

The partner mentioned several things we all can do in the office, including:
  • making sure all documents are spell checked
  • putting a Brunswick logo onto all external documents
  • using official Brunswick templates
  • working on our interaction with each other in the office - for example speaking to people if we have a problem rather than complaining behind their back

Some things I think I can do personally:

  • keep the office tidy. It's part of my job to tidy up the newspapers every day, but often they are left lying around. At the end of the day, it's often the last thing I feel like doing - but it's important.
  • dress well
  • be friendly to people but still maintain a level of formality
  • don't send an e mail when I could just as easily get up and ask

This is one of the ways our work environment is changing. When I mentioned this to Lesley as a possible topic for next year's WoW, she agreed that it's difficult ground to negotiate. When she first started work, people would all wear suits. Now Steve Jobs will give a major presentation in jeans and takkies.


Thomas Blaser said...

This may go back to the culture issue. Showing up in takkies and jeans depends upon the industry; in creative arts, fashion industry, and others, it is ok to do so. In others, it is not. In right wing think-tanks you want to wear shirt and tie; in left wing think-tanks, you wear takkies and jeans. The rule is there are not rules but cultures.

Thomas Blaser said...

I feel being professional is first what you do, how you behave and perhaps also how and what you think. I mean you got to be serious about what you do. Often, people are blinded by form. Or, if the appearances are right, you can still smell if the content is rotten. If you do a job, make sure you give the best you have. If the presentation is great as well even better. But I think the focus should be on substance and less on form.