Professionalism can mean many different things to many different people. Â However, there are a few commonalities observed across many disciplines. Â Shaking hands and eye contact are two of the first lessons young professionals are taught, and over the years they become the cornerstones for the lessons accumulated over the rest of their careers.
Many times, through many years, you will meet people that act like they are above the basic manners and the lowest courtesies of professionalism. Â The trick, and the most challenging part of having a job, is not sinking to their level. Â I have had my share of these situations, and each encounter reminds me that I still need practice with the art of emotional detachment. Â As well as the lesson taught by life and reinforced in my classes that “The client is always right.”
In every discipline, there is need for thick skin, though I think this applies especially to those going into the creative arts. Â Careers in design, art, and writing often take risks in presenting new ideas. Â In taking risks, there is the very great possibility of those ideas being rejected. Â You may work with people who do not understand the creative process, and the long hours it takes to produce a project.
On my internship, I was responsible for creating a three to four minute video that surmised the training of the cadets in my company. Â The Friday before my video was due (that Sunday) it went to get approved by the commander in charge of the course. Â It was not approved because he did not like the style of music that I had chosen. Â This was the worst case scenario because in having to change my song, I would essentially have to re-edit my whole video. Â Saturday I found myself in the editing room all day, only to come in Sunday morning to find that he still did not like the song. Â So, in 5 hours on the Sunday my video was due, I interviewed cadets and re-edited my video to a completely different genre of music.
Monday, my video was being shown to the cadets that afternoon, so with no time for another complete re-edit of my video my third video was approved. Â It was one of the most difficult moments of my professional life, I had spent hours upon hours creating these videos. Â Not to mention the months of thought I put into my first video only to have it be rejected. Â I forced myself to laugh the whole weekend and ended up with three videos I can add to my portfolio. Â This was certainly the biggest lesson of my internship, and I know will continue to be the most difficult lesson in my creative career.
Remaining objective on a project, for better or worse, is a difficult lesson to learn. Â But maybe the most important. Â In the end, I walked away with so much more than videos added to my professional portfolio.
You can watch my second video here.