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Defining Your Idea of Professionalism

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

College and law school teach us conventional methods of professionalism. It’s the white buttoned dress shirt and navy suit for the interview. It’s the black, gray, and tan clothing. Penny loafers, slacks, dresses to the knee, and stockings. It’s the hair pulled back neatly into a bun. It’s saying “you all” and “everyone”, instead of everybody and y’all. There is a time and place for formality, but there is also a time and place for personality. You need to define your own sense of professionalism. Perhaps its the millennial in me, but I found myself when I became more expressive in interviews, the office, and in practice. I let the twang of my south Mississippi accent shine. I wore bright colors. I wore a big smile and told jokes to my bosses, to my clients, and to my colleagues. I shed off the fake persona and mask that etiquette books long proclaimed as “The Professional Woman” and reminded myself that I am professional. It doesn’t get anymore professional than the authentic me and if anyone would like to debate that they will have missed out on the pleasures of knowing me.

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