How to be a Professional in 2022
I remember back when I was just getting started in the job market as a junior developer that my boss wanted me to promote his business on my Facebook profile.
This felt wrong. It felt like I was spamming my friends online, when nobody wanted to see that.
My business life was in the office, my personal life was my own. There was a line.
That was early social media. Then LinkedIn came onto the scene. I could now have a business profile and a personal profile online.
Still a distinction, two paths but both on the internet.
It was naive to think someone would see one profile and not the other. Not that I acted inappropriately, but LinkedIn had business shirts, while I normally wear a t-shirt. Think of the scandal if a client saw me in a t-shirt!
Fast forward to today. Most people have turned themselves into a business. Self promotion is now commonplace. The “business” may be how well they are doing in life, or how happy they are (or want to appear). But everyone seems to be in a promotion game.
We went from separation of business and personal, to everything being business. I’m hoping we see a third phase to this. That it’s okay to be personal in your business.
I find this everyday with clients. To act professional doesn’t mean to use words like synergy and always be dressed in a suit.
I use animated gifs and regular language with my clients, and not put on an air.
And I see the warmth and appreciation that comes from this. It allows everyone to let their hair down, breath, and relax.
And once relaxed, we can get to the heart of the business.
During Covid, I had clients who had to take meetings with children on their lap. It was a challenge for them, but it was great. It’s okay that everyone knows you to have to juggle many responsibilities.
It’s time to be human, in total. Know that we have families, and friends, and love to eat, and cry at sappy movies.
That’s what a professional looks like in this decade.