What is professional anyways?

So I’m pretty sure the base term for professional is someone who is compensated for their work/services. And like I get in and I feel like a lot of high school and college and internships and summer jobs is preparing you/me to be a professional working adult. Now that I am a professional working adult I feel like every job has gotten less “professional”.

For example. I have been in my current position for 6 months (which is the longest full-time formal/not my own boss job I’ve ever had). It is pretty laid back because a lot of people work from home or remotely. Often I am by myself in my office that is on the opposite ends of one of the campuses. Work dress is casual and pretty much just public school rules: nothing dirty, nothing torn, nothing with drugs or alcohol, and nothing political. It’s pretty easy to follow and when I work from home and don’t have Zoom calls I can get away with staying in pajamas. For formal events there is a very strict dress code but those are few and far between we are coming up on number 2 in almost 7 months.

However, recently I have had a lot of external meetings for some cool upcoming projects. A couple weeks ago I was at the statehouse. Which was nice and beautiful and hectic. But there were staffers in jeans! JEANS! I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t even in a full suit or anything, but compared to a lot of the people I felt overdressed. My meeting was with some people who work full time for the statehouse for a caucus and the office of education and outreach, to be honest I was pretty nervous. Then during the meeting someone agreed with me and instead of saying so raised their fist to receive a fist bump. I know this because when I didn’t realize it and bump them they asked me to. Then at my meeting at Simmons University. The dress was a little more casual which I had expected, but like someone cursed and it was very different. Different than previous meetings I had had and different than what I had been educated to expect.

None of these things were you know, bad or wrong inherently. But it has left me feeling confused. Confused about what is expected of me as a young professional. Confused about what the real professional landscape is actually going to look like moving forward for me.

Anyway more new stuff to figure out. Hooray! Wish me luck.


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