In school they tell you to sit in a row, do what your told and don’t question authority. In university they make you memorize material from a previous decade and try to tell you that you have to be professional to make it. It’s implied that you don’t dress like a slob but why is being professional a sought after characteristic?
Out of Silicon Valley rose the hoodie culture supported mainly by the fellow who started Faecbook, Mr. Zuckerberg. The counterculture movement of not wearing the suit, not driving the sports car and not flaunting your wealth. You could look into the psychological reason’s why Mark wore flip flips and t-shirts in the early (and late) days of Facebook, but to be honest, I think it was comfort.
When you’re doing your life’s work, comfort trumps all when it comes to clothing.
We’ve been told again and again. “Be professional, dress the part, talk the part, don’t do over and above, don’t read ahead, don’t look for new solutions, focus on what we’ve done and just do it better.” Or my personal pet peeve, “It’s business as usual!” which really means, we’re lazy, we’ve been doing this for over a decade, why change now?
Soon, if you don’t change you’re going to be obsolete. If you focus on being professional and not growing your own unique personal brand, why do you think you’re going to have a job in the future?
I went to a personal branding workshop at a conference in Calgary when I was in university. Something the session leader told us I will never forget. “If you go to an interview and you don’t leave an impression on the interviewers that they will remember, why do you think you’ll get the job?”
A simple concept with profound meaning. In any situation, you can show people you’re passionate. In any situation you can standout amongst the crowd, it’s a choice you have.
Professionalism in Social Media
It doesn’t exist. Stop thinking you’re “being professional” by only sharing articles and content about your work, if that’s all you do you’re very boring. A social media consultant once told a client of mine to only share on Facebook content about their own company or content about the consultants company. What?!? You mean you want a company to ONLY talk about themselves on their Facebook page and Twitter account? I’ve never heard worse advice.
You need to show you have a personality. Your work (just like everyone else) is boring to the majority of all people. Share what you’re interested in, share what interests your friends, share the things that people want to share with their friends. But please don’t just share about yourself.
Passionate > Professional.