Does Your Walk Match Your Talk?
Much of my work involves helping people become more effective at work, and if they are not working, more productive in their job searches. It is necessary for me to observe behavior and identify the ways people may be setting themselves up for disappointments or mis-communications so I can help them avoid them in the future.
Over the years I have observed and interacted with people from all professions (healthcare, IT, engineering, manufacturing, finance, marketing, sales) and have found some interesting behaviors often shared by people within specific occupations. Some behaviors are often overwhelmingly consistent. You most certainly could accuse me of stereotyping in my thinking and you would be accurate.
An example of what I see within some occupations is what most people might think when they visit a hair salon and the stylists are all having “bad hair” days. That image doesn’t really make one feel comfortable getting help with a new style, does it? Or, when we drive by a mechanic’s personal residence and see six broken down cars. I think you can catch my drift here. Regardless of the labels, my point in sharing my observations is to remind people that anyone’s behavior off the job is often seen as a reflection of what their behavior would be on the job.
That said, my intent is for readers to consider the impressions they create when interacting with others outside of the context of their “jobs”. In order for anyone to feel comfortable enough to refer you, there must be trust in the fact that you will perform well and as promised. If you exhibit any of the following behavior, please consider how that behavior impacts others’ impressions and their ability to refer you.
- If you are a Project Manager, how organized do you appear? How often do you find yourself over booking or forgetting appointments? How reliable are you? How often do you lose information or records of conversations or events? How well do you manage your time? Do you show others that you typically exercise good judgment?
- If you make a living by writing, are you proofing materials before you submit for job applications to ensure there is not one typo? How well do you communicate with others?
- If you are presenting yourself as an expert in technology, how many times do you use your “malfunctioning technology” as a reason for not completing a task or communicating in a timely way?
- If you are in science, how much effort do you put into research before you ask others for information that could be easily found on the web or through other simple research? How often do you lose important emails or important reference material?
- If you are a project coordinator or provide administrative support to others, how well do you adhere to deadlines? How often do you allow procrastination to get in the way of your accomplishing more? How well do you adapt to competing interests? Are you on time for meetings?
- If you work in a creative field, how well do you solve problems? How often do you allow outside influences to control what you do, perhaps preventing you from following through with commitments? How good are you at crafting creative solutions to obstacles that allow you to stay on task?
These examples are intended to prompt some thought, not create debates. Beyond that, I hope at least one person is compelled to work on their “professional image” before asking for their next referral.