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Why settle for only professional when you can be Professional Plus?


People often assume that being adequate in skill or knowledge alone is sufficient for practicing an occupation, but being a professional requires more than just an ability to perform one's occupation.

In addition to possessing competency, skill, and specialized knowledge, a professional must conduct themself professionally when engaged in their occupation. A professional will also hold themself accountable for their actions. When working with others, a professional will express themself well in both oral and written communication. A professional should be reliable and maintain ethical behavior. A professional should be both polite and poised when encountering a difficult situation. A professional is adaptable when necessary. A professional should always be neat in their attire and appearance.

How then does one know how to act professionally if the above requirements and expectations of a professional were never explained to them? More importantly, where does one go to learn how to be truly professional?

One would assume that higher education would be the ideal place to learn how to be a professional, but unsurprisingly, this is not the case. Instead, our educational system prioritizes teaching students the technical skills needed for their future occupation at the expense of teaching them basic employability skills. Yes, some students will obtain an internship or two while in school, but most students will not get an internship prior to graduation, and a short internship oftentimes is not enough to learn professionalism. Worse, many future and aspiring professionals simply model behaviors from role models for whom they believe to be professional. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong role model can be analogous to reposting an article on social media that has not been fact-checked. The result is a generation of young professionals who think that they are professional but may still lack significant professional skills.

Since higher education does not teach professionalism and most younger individuals are learning on their own, it is imperative that skilled professionals like myself who are also accountable, reliable, ethical, polite, poised, adaptable, and neat in appearance, mentor future, and aspiring professionals. As a career engineer, I have nearly two decades of practical experience as a professional. I have communicated ideas both orally and visually in high-stakes meetings with leaders within various organizations. I have successfully worked with both cross-functional and international teams. I have experience with maintaining my composure during difficult situations. As a licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas, not only am I expected to be ethical, but I am required to perform annual continuing education training in ethics. Even as an expatriate in Malaysia, I have experience in adapting to a completely different culture and work environment. I am not perfect, so I have made mistakes in my career, but I have always held myself accountable and practiced diligence in correcting my errors.

So, as a result of my varied experiences as a career professional, I have found Professional Plus™, which is my brand dedicated to assisting young and aspiring professionals to become better professionals. The minimum expectation of a professional is competency, skill, or specialized knowledge in an occupation. A Professional Plus™ person is someone who exceeds the minimum expectations of a professional. A Professional Plus™ person adheres to a code of conduct and engages in a standard of ethics that surpasses his or her peers. Through Professional Plus™, I will share my personal experiences and provide examples of how to be your best professional self.

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