You are a Professional? Please…

Mar 6, 2011   //   by Admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

We had a ‘pecah perut’ (laughing so hard, your stomach almost burst at the seams) conversation not too recently with a bunch of ‘no need to work one’ businesspeople, talking and lamenting on a very interesting topic – Professionalism.

What is it actually, this professionalism? And someone told me,” if the goreng pisang seller sells his goreng pisang everyday no matter what, come rain and more rain, I call him a Professional”.

The term belongs to everyone, it’s an intrinsic value irrespective of one’s education level. Then we continued the dialogue by agreeing that if that’s the case, there are more professionals on the street than in air-conditioned, highrise green buildings at downtown CBD. And we all laughed. But we knew down right, this is no laughing matter. For if Malaysia as a nation truly believes in contributing to the world through its people, this is one value we need to appreciate and celebrate.

We probed this question of professionalism further and realised the more we try to define it, the closer and frequently popped this other word, the mighty INTEGRITY. And another person related her brush with the test of integrity in business while wiping tears from her eyes, “It’s hard, so hard, to not fall away in the caress of integrity cause you are not in a fair playing field. You lose out in the short term if you stubbornly hold on to it and you die an instant death in business. How can you even talk about being innovative and effective when you can’t even look in the eye of integrity?”

What’s the use of integrity when one can still be a ‘successful’ entrepreneur, ‘successful’ industry player when clearly integrity is not in the handbook of one’s heart?

The topic got very heavy and tangled with emotion, no one could think further and we all let our mind wandered for a few minutes, blaming the system, the institutions, and not forgetting, blaming ourselves. And in that moment, surprisingly and fearfully we remember how our forefathers, our fathers and mothers who raised us in true hardship, poverty yet with high professionalism.

The matter was left hanging as we were left to complete our own conclusion, writing in our own mental dictionary the powerful meaning of professionalism. Little did we know a simple conversation would jolt our being and brought us deep into our conscience. One common thing we brought back that cold, rainy day was our feeling of guilt, of not being professional enough in our daily affair, be it at our workplace, raising our own children, taking care of public property, being committed to our faith, etc, etc.

Yet I drove home with a new set of hope, energy and determination. The ‘words’ found me and soon I believe the role models will find me and the few friends too. Because that’s how the ‘professional’ system of the universe works.

And the next morning I woke up quite early……professional mah! Truly pecah kepala:)

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