Monday, November 14, 2011

Be A Professional Today!

I was having a hard time in coming up with a topic to bloviate about when I suddenly (or inadvertently) remembered about an involuntary class that I had to take last week. Presto! Instant subject to bloviate about!

For the second time in my storied and illustrious state career...I should say for the second time during the second phase of my storied and illustrious state career....I had to take a class on professionalism with 22 of my co-workers. The first time I had this bad boy by the gonads was back in 2007, when I got fed up with an 1199 union member asking me the same question over and over, so I RESPONDED TO HIS E-MAIL IN CAPS AND FINISHED WITH THE TAG LINE "DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR, CRYSTAL OR OTHERWISE?"

Suffice to say that behavior learned in the chat rooms does not necessarily go over well in the business world.

Anywho, the idea behind this latest incarnation (I think) is that we (as in my whole dept.) should treat the people we are in contact with on a daily basis with professionalism, regardless of the fact that it doesn't flow both ways. Are we treated with professionalism by others?

F no!

We get dumped on, jumped on, grumped on, thumped on, disrespected, criticized, marginalized, ostracized and cannibalized. And yet we all take this abuse with a grain of salt, a pinch of saltpeter and a glop of cynicism.

I think what bothers me the most about having to take this class is that we have to take this class. Having us take this class, to me, is tantamount to saying that we're not taking all of the excrement that's being shoveled our way with the proper Stepford wife mentality.

Suffice to say no one is happy about going to a training class for seven hours to learn how to suck up to idiots who are incapable of behaving in an intelligent and rational manner.There is no way on God's green hectare that you can make a class on professionalism interesting, especially since people would rather spend the day getting a jump on their work load for the next week then sit around listening to someone lecture them on professionalism.

Anywho, that's how I spent the day before Columbus day at work, listening to three very nice people talk about professionalism in the work place. The usual topics were covered: e-mail etiquette, phone etiquette, people etiquette (aka respect) and an hour lecture on proper attire and fashion.

Yup, you read correctly, I said "fashion". Now for the other two guys that were in the class with me, it was pure hell on earth for them to listen to someone talking about what you can or can't wear in an office setting, a field setting, or even a courtroom setting (gotta remember, my agency is about 85% female to 15% men). As for me, I tried to make the best of a very sleep inducing lecture. Considering that I'm a writer and a blogger in my spare time, I spent that hour approaching the subject from that point of view.

And for about twenty minutes, I was able to pick up some useful tips on clothing and accessories, and I was even able to contribute to the conversation by explaining why I was asking certain questions in the first place (I write my stories with a lot of female characters and I need to make them as accurate as possible with the confines of the story). However, the remaining forty-five minutes were spent doodling and coming up with song titles/t.v. titles that would match up with either what the lecture was all about (Fashion, Sharp Dressed Man), or how I was feeling (Why Me?, Mr. Bill) at the time.

When all was said and done, I came away not with a refreshed purpose of self, but with a feeling of deja vu. By deja vu, I mean that all the warm fuzzies that we got would all disappear in a day, simply because the class never really addressed the underlying issues that are collectively felt by our unit each and every day.

So the question for you the reader is: Ever had to take a mandatory class on something that either really didn't pertain to you or glossed over the underlying issues that caused you to have to take the class in the first place?


  1. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right? :)

    There was a male manager in my department at the corporation I worked at, who "sexually harassed" a young lady and all the managers in that department then had to take a class together. The funny thing is - only a couple of us knew that he was actually gay with a partner at home. And the craziest thing - he didn't learn a thing and continued saying whatever he wanted to to people. He was fired shortly after.

  2. Lynn: Or add a couple of limes for a refreshing twist on an old favorite. :D

    The funny (or sad) thing is that every person in my department felt it was a complete waste of time as it really was more focused on the social workers (who make up about 85% of the agency) than it was to anyone else.

  3. Who needs Vogue when you can get fashion advice at such a seminar!

  4. R: Hey smartness jeans! Long time no hear!

    Anywho, I did hear about a few incidents involving inappropriate clothing, but you know, I just couldn't get the proper visual needed in order to appreciate the point made. :D

  5. Several, but not at the current job which should really teach food safety rules in Portugese.
    One Temp place at a food container factory had monthly B-day parties / meetings with an overhead projector decribing new rules such as Cell phones not allowed, n sexaul harrassment law while you were captively eating the cake. n In Spanish too- that was the fun part! Note, the employees there also were Portugese speakers! They didn't get ANY of it...
    Companies get a Federal tax deduction for job educational / training expenses- that's why they do it. The money

  6. Snaggle: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense--have a meeting in Spanish when everyone speeks Portugese.

    I don't think we have ours for the tax credits since about 95% of our training meetings/seminars actually deal with the various components that make up a social worker's job.

    I just found that this one did not warrant a whole day devoted to it.

  7. professionalism is a good idea in theory. It doesn't always work in practice. it sometimes just means you get run over.

  8. I don't know that I've taken an "involuntary" class. Some things might be redundant, but I try to come away with some life lesson learned. I am always curious about how people present themselves, and I make a mental list of things I need to work on myself. :-)

    I have a neighbor who will not take guff from anyone. If someone asks something unreasonable of her, she tells them no forcefully. I really admire her for it.

  9. Charles: In state guv'ment (or any kind of guv'ment for that matter) it almost never works in practice.

    But you do definitely get driven over.

    Multiple times.

    Jewel: It's tough to take away something from a mandatory class because more often than not, there's a major disconnect between what they want/expect to happen and what actually happens.

    However, kudos to your neighbor for not taking any kind of guff from anyone. Because that's such a rare thing in today's world, I'm sure that your neighbor has been called quite a few inappropriate names for her tempermant.

    We should all take a lesson in that.

  10. 7 hours away from my normal dregs of work wouldn't have me complaining.

  11. Bearman: True. I feel the same way when I go to my facility twice a month to do payroll. It really doesn't feel like work so it's a nifty little vaca.

    However, I do draw the line at meetings that don't really have anything to do with my job.


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