Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Fine Line

I've been thinking today about the distinction between Perfectionism and Professionalism.

I'll be honest, I'm a little bit on the neurotic side when it comes to my work. Someone once told me I used a run-on sentence (which I do sometimes do for effect , but in this case I hadn't) and, being me, I diagrammed the entire chapter to show that there wasn't a single run-on in there. Long sentences, hell yes. Grammatically incorrect? Allow me to introduce you to my eighth grade English teacher's wrath.

I thought about why I was so offended by the claim and realized it had to do with professionalism as much as perfectionism. Subpar grammar is unprofessional. I felt like my professional integrity was under attack.

On a certain level, I equate professionalism with perfection. If there is a typo on my website, I feel it reflects badly on me. (Dude, I'm soooo tempted to put a typo in this blog just as a joke about how perfect I am... hee hee. My sense of humor is messed up.) If I don't get in touch with a giveaway winner right away or forget to return an email, I kick myself for not being on top of things and draw up elaborate scenarios in my head in which the neglected party tells everyone she knows how unprofessional I am.

When I was in the corporate workforce, I used to have anxiety dreams every time I made a mistake at work. Mistakes in my personal life meant living and learning and becoming a better person from it. Mistakes at the office? Nightmares for weeks.

If someone interferes with my professionalism or causes me to be unable to behave professionally (i.e. perfectly), it's really hard for me to maintain my cool. The words "reflects badly on me" dance in my head in a neurotic can-can line, encouraging me to smack the offender down. (Cuz smackdowns are wicked professional.)

I'm a control freak and a neurotic perfectionist when it comes to my career, but I try to keep it to myself whenever possible. (Except when I'm blabbing about it on the blog for all the world to see.)

My question for you, dear reader, is this: How do you define professionalism?

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