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Keeping It Professional While Out on the Town

Updated on August 30, 2015
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Being Professional No Matter What You Do

In my article, Being a Professional No Matter What You Do, I talked about three key actions that every working person needed to take to boost their ability to function as a professional. Those key actions included:

  • Getting Good at What You Do
  • Taking Pride in What You Do
  • Finding Your Passion in Being Professional

The intent behind this article was to boost awareness that no matter what industry you work within, it is ultimately your responsibility to be the professional that your co-workers, boss, clients or customers expect you to be.

There is another aspect however that needs to be addressed in functioning as a professional and that is the importance of being a professional no matter the environment you are placed in during the course of your employment with an organization.


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After Hours Professionalism

Ever been invited to attend a company gathering after hours or on the weekend by your boss? You know...the gatherings that are intended to promote team bonding and restore your faith that you still work for a great organization? Whether it's a company barbecue, holiday party or team dinner, there are a few things that you must keep in mind as it relates to remaining the consummate professional.

Professionalism: Skills for Workplace Success

Professionalism is Always on the Clock

Your Boss is Watching

You are being watched by your boss. It may be an indirect or direct observation that is underway but keep in mind that you are being watched. Now, some of you have either done this or witnessed the ambitious individual on your team who uses these functions as an opportunity to push their career growth agenda. It's a relaxed setting, the boss is probably more open/accessible to hearing their short term goals. Hey, good for them however, even this should be kept to a minimum or you may create an eye-rolling/irritant situation.

However, there's the other member of your team that forgot that while they weren't necessarily on the clock, their professional button still needed to be in the play mode. You have seen them --or perhaps this is even you. They decided to have a few more drinks than they should have and now, they are loud, causing a scene and making a full-fledged fool of themselves and those around them and doing things you might have known them to be capable of in a public setting.

Rule #1 in being a professional outside of the office in mixed company is to watch your alcohol.

This is not to say that you should not have a drink or two to relax yourself (if that is your preference) but if you are one who drinks, you probably have an awareness for your limits (i.e. your buzz level). Get your alcohol tolerance filter in check and watch it. Impressions can be lasting.

What if your boss happens to also be a good friend of yours? Sure, I recognize that some of you have pre-existing relationships with people who are now your boss. However, you are a reflection of your friend as well. If your behavior slides left in a public setting where their boss also happens to be present, they more than likely will be forced to disassociate themselves from your actions and ultimately, if you are seeking that growth opportunity, they won't be able to make a recommendation on your behalf.

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Your Peers are Watching

Now, let's face it, some of your peers will encourage you to let your professional mask slide a bit --whether intentional in nature or possibly unintentionally. Many people have no filters once they get outside of the office and despite the fact that they are within 10 feet of their employer's ear range, they behave in a way that no one should ever allow their employer to see.

If you have any aspirations of moving up the chain and potentially managing those you currently work along side, keep in mind that they will catalog any missteps you make in a public setting --even if they are acting out right along side of you. Even if they are your best friend, keep in mind that you should still have your "at work" filter in play. For some, how you present yourself publicly also determines how much they are willing to accept and respect you as a representative of their team, department and/or company.

Speaking of the word 'friend', make sure that you are very clear about the status of the people you keep company with at work. Are they truly friends or friendly acquaintances? You must be very clear about that. While some of us have the luxury of working with good friends that we trust, there are those who are not your friend but friendly acquaintances and its critical that you get clear on where they fall --especially knowing that you will be confronted by these situations.

Rule #2: Know who are friends and who are friendly acquaintances.

Professionalism and Your Brand

You may not be a mogul or millionaire but you are your own entity and in effect, you should think of your career and professionalism as your brand. Your brand should be protected no matter what and thus, as previously stated, your filters must be in play. It's a high pressure world and you don't want to risk any cracks in the brand from external forces when possible.

Rule #3: Protect your brand

In closing, the important thing to remember here is to that no matter your setting, keep your professionalism filter in play. You can still have fun, mix and mingle, share a few laughs but avoid situations that may skew your standing at the company or amongst your peers.

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