Five Quick Ways to Get Branded as Unprofessional

Five Quick Ways to Get Branded as Unprofessional

In last week’s blog, I defined professionalism, the characteristics of a professional, and how to polish your professionalism.

The flip side of professionalism, of course, is being unprofessional.

Merriam-Webster defines unprofessional as “below or contrary to the standards expected in a particular profession.”

Here then, are my top five ways to quickly become branded as “unprofessional.” I’ve described them as you might talk about someone who is unprofessional, and given you some of my real-world experiences with unprofessional behavior.

## “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Years ago, I worked with an IT person who, when I hired him, was up-to-date with his IT knowledge. He didn’t continue to hone those skills, however, so by the time he was terminated, his skills were completely out of date.

Not only did this mean he wasn’t going to get a glowing recommendation from me as his most recent boss, it also meant he was going to have a hard time landing another position in IT.

## “She always blames someone else when something goes wrong.”

Gaining a reputation as a blamer is a sure-fire way to get branded as unprofessional.

While I can’t say I’ve worked with a chronic blamer, I have worked with multiple employees who wouldn’t accept responsibility for their own actions.

A particular coordinator I worked with was engaging in some very unprofessional behavior. When I confronted her about this, she denied saying and doing the things I knew were true. Her denial made it very difficult for me to try to fix the damage her behavior had caused.

## “You can’t count on him to come through.”

You simply won’t be given the tony assignments if you cultivate a reputation as a ball-dropper.

The afore-mentioned IT tech was in charge of a very important annual report with implications for the entire university. After he was terminated, I discovered that he had used the previous year’s stats to create the current year’s report. I can’t even tell you what a nightmare that was.

## “She is rude and inconsiderate.”

People won’t continue to help you, or even work with you, if you’re rude and inconsiderate.

At a former employer, the Director of Public Relations had the reputation of telling you what you were going to do, rather than asking for your help. Further, she wasn’t thankful or appreciative in the least when you did it.

People learned to avoid this individual, get their bosses to say they couldn’t do the thing she was asking them to do…anything to avoid working with her.

## “He came to the meeting without the materials he needed, and he clearly wasn’t prepared.”

My favorite example of being unprepared is from a job interview I conducted years ago.

The interviewee, when asked if she had any questions for us, said “Am I going to get another interview? I need to know whether or not to do some research on [company].”

Can’t get much more unprepared than that, and then she telegraphed her lack of preparation.

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