Professionalism and the Lack Thereof

Oh, man if there is one thing that riles me up in this world it is people who are downright inconsiderate – whether it be in a personal or professional environment. Taking advantage of other people’s hearts and resources is just plain wrong.

When someone close to you breaks a promise, it feels like betrayal. How could they be so inconsiderate and hurt you by weaseling out of their word? This feels like a stab in the heart.

When someone that you have no relation with, and with whom you’re entering into a professional deal with suddenly leaves you hanging, it’s just plain infuriating. You wonder, who do they think they are screwing around with my time and resources? This feels like a slap in the face.

When a 22-year-old is giving you lessons about being professional, then it’s probably way overdue that you should have gotten some pointers from your school’s career advisor. Although, I’ve always been raised with a tough love type of attitude and was never given too much slack for my mistakes, even if I was barely in the double-digits. I always knew how insulting it was to someone when you disregarded a phone call (or an e-mail nowadays) — especially when it was business and you were simply the middle-man messenger.

Then again, this doesn’t seem like a lesson that needs to be taught verbatim. It’s kind of common sense, isn’t it: don’t break promises, don’t lie, don’t forget to return messages, and don’t be rude?

Well, it seems that showing consideration in the workplace is a lot more difficult than one might imagine. Or, maybe it’s just that as a young woman in the professional world – I just seem to have a sign plastered on my head that says “Take advantage of my time.” Either way, it’s really sickening, and I’m up to my neck in this crap.

To date, I have worked for multiple internships (and many-a-time done lots of free work), where I wasn’t even given the respect of a “Sorry, we don’t want you anymore.” Nope, it seems that because I’m the last link of the food chain, people like myself aren’t even worthy of this much respect. Instead, I got the message when my emails were never returned and the communication came an abrupt stop.

Before anyone starts bashing me for complaining and launches into a “Well, that’s the way it is..” rant — spare me because I know. That is the way things are, but that’s not how they SHOULD be. We’re all people aren’t we? Kindness should exist in the workplace, and if anything, respect should be in abundance. We’re talking about a world where everyone is contributing time and resources, not just existing for the hell of it.

I don’t need presents and and endless chain of appreciative speeches, but hey — call me crazy, I wouldn’t mind if you wouldn’t waste my time by being irresponsible and disrespectful! You may be older, but that doesn’t elicit automatic respect. Contrarily, I’m inclined to give my elders respect by default simply because they’re older, but it sure doesn’t mean it’s an endless supply. If you insist on being inconsiderate, dishonest, and condescending — do you really expect me to polish the pedestal for you to stand on?

Recently, I was supposed to partner up with a stylist at Bravo! Salon in Lufkin, TX to review a hot, new perm. After chasing the owner for weeks through calls, that unfortunately never returned because of who-knows-what, I was able speak to her in person. I told her what I had in mind and how we might both be able to benefit from the partnership: I peg her business in my video/written review while she offers her expertise on the product, and I get a work sample for my portfolio. Plain and simple. I gave her the opportunity to check out all my work and tell me bluntly if she felt wary and didn’t want to do it anymore – even AFTER we made the appointment. Everything seemed fine, and I was scheduled to come in the week after.

Week after: I get a call that Angie (owner) is out for the day because she is sick and the appointment is cancelled. Reasonably, I was disappointed but appreciative I was at least called. Instead of rescheduling me, the receptionist told me to call back the week after to speak with the owner and make another appointment. So I did, and no Angie in the salon!

“She’s out for lunch, but I’ll have her call you back.”

Sure, that’s fine. So I left the message and number — day after day…Never was I told that perhaps, she just wasn’t interested in the venture, or that she wasn’t planning on returning any of my calls.

I set out to find a new salon to partner up with, slowly building up the realization of how I was, once again, being jilted –  but not one person thought it necessary to be honest. I’m sorry, is this a high school scenario where the mean girls only half-attempt to hide the fact that my boyfriend is cheating on me? It seemed similarly dramatic and sketchy…

Week after that: Plain angry that I had been dealing with such unprofessionalism, I called back multiple times to speak with the owner to tell her I didn’t appreciate the treatment. Instead, I was given the same parroted message, “She’s not in, I’ll tell her to call you..”

When I went to tell the receptionist that I had been hearing this message for weeks, and had yet to be called, she got snarky and told me that the owner was out of town due to a family emergency.

Oh! So, I was supposed to just know that? I should’ve just assumed it was something like that. Well, it would’ve been nice to be told anything close to the truth so I could’ve backed off. Given attitude and the usual message that I’d be called back, I relayed my appreciation and my sympathies and hung up. (I truly felt bad, but why would I send myself down a guilt trip when I had no earthly way of knowing?)

Had it not been for salon partner, Jamie, who gave me a ring in an attempt to smooth things over, I would have written the entire staff at Bravo! as very inconsiderate. She, however, cleared things up even more vividly when she told me that Angie had told the staff over a week ago that she had no interest in working with me. Oh, but wait — the staff and Angie never seemed to think it was important enough to tell me that. Again, Jamie was the only one at the salon who seemed apologetic and considered how rude and unprofessional I had taken everyone’s behavior to be – the owner’s especially. She remained neutral, but I could tell she really felt bad. She attempted to make calls back and forth and patch things up, but I told her I wasn’t interested in working with Bravo!. I think I had gotten my answer at how valuable my wasted time was. But, again — being young often gives others an impression that you’re likely to be the flaky one, so you probably won’t care. Wrong!

If you’re getting your hair done in Lufkin, TX — you may want to take my experience into consideration. I’ve been going to this place for years, and always had pretty good experiences, but would rather take my locks to MasterCuts or something. Glad we got to work together Bravo! did give me the inspiration behind my work sample.

Have you ever been disrespected in the professional world? What happened and why do you think you were treated that way?


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