When your co-worker acts contrary to the accepted code of conduct in an office or workplace, she is acting unprofessionally. This code of conduct is listed in the employee handbook you received when you were hired. The handbook outlines what is expected of you as a professional. This includes the clothes you wear and the way in which you must conduct yourself while on the job. People who act contrary to these codes of conduct will find themselves with a new label besides being unprofessional: jobless.
Doing the Job
Professionals show up ready to work. There's plenty of time for a break when you need one or to take a moment to chat socially with a co-worker after you've put some time in at your desk. Don't be the one who's accused of being the lounge lingerer. You know the type. When you walk into the break room to replenish your coffee, she's the one who's always there. You begin to wonder if her boss pays enough attention to her work habits. Lounge or office lingerers are also people who stop off at their co-workers' desks to talk endlessly about things that have nothing to do with work. These actions display a lack of professionalism, according to an article in "Woman's Day" magazine.
The employee who always bucks the system by showing up to work as if she just rolled out of bed sends dual messages to her boss and co-workers. The first message is that she's unprofessional in her attitude toward her job and doesn't care what anyone thinks. The second message is that she doesn't care that much about herself, which can also be translated that she doesn't care about her job. Most organizations maintain a dress code that lists the things you're not supposed to wear at work. Your appearance is part of how others view you, so make it a point to be clean and presentable, and adhere to your organization's dress code if you want to be viewed as a professional.
Your conduct at work ties into whether you're seen as a professional by others. Professionals are always polite, courteous and civil, regardless of how others behave. Professionals don't talk down to co-workers; they demonstrate respect and resolve conflicts in a way that supports a safe work environment. They don't make belittling comments or discriminate for any reason. Your goal as a professional is to contribute to creating a harmonious office environment.
Attitude and Etiquette
Professionals maintain a positive attitude, which engages others positively; whereas a negative attitude is disruptive and a bring-down. Being a professional is more than just the clothes you wear or the job you do, it also means that you keep your emotional energy in check and don't dump your anger on others, notes the "Phoenix Business Journal." As a professional, the idea is to embody a positive attitude as much as possible. Professionals don't pollute the office environment with racial slurs, epithets, private slang that only you know, or harass anyone because of their religion, sex, culture, race or national origin. Your positive attitude and respect for others marks you as a true professional everywhere you go.
- Virginia Department of Resource Management: Employee Handbook -- Standards of Conduct
- Virginia Department of Resource Management: Employee Handbook -- Equal Opportunity Employment
- Virginia Department of Resource Management: Employee Handbook -- Workplace Harassment
- Dictionary.com: No. 2 -- Unprofessional
- Opportunities for Learning: Work Attire Guidelines
- Woman's Day: How to Deal With Difficult Co-Workers
- Phoenix Business Journal: Workplace Etiquette Plays Role in Advancement
- Inc.: Workplace Anger
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.