It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Professionalism Is Maturity

Have you ever noticed that your boss seems to be in favor of a certain employee yet he still manages to look professional doing it? Have you ever noticed how much professional your lecturer seems yet a student fails and he saves that student and another fails and he lets the student be. Have you ever noticed that one of your authority figures who has been in various professional situations and who has been trained to practice professionalism still "laughs to the other member's joke louder than yours"?

Growing up studying in higher learning institutions, I've been taught that various situations in a workplace and relationships with our work colleagues require us to be and act professional. I used to denote, and I still do, that professionalism can sometimes be too overrated. But lately, my experience dealing with some people who work in a workplace that oozes professionalism tells me that professionalism always seems to be temporal, and very very inconsistent. This is not an overrating, this is professionalism used in practices for the sake of its hype and trend, rather than for its advantages and importance of use.

My idea of professionalism is to treat all your employees equally, regardless your personal feelings (positive or negative), if you are a boss; or to not let unnecessary emotional ventilation to people who do not have any personal relationship with you; Or to not mix personal feeling with professional ones (if you happen to work in the same place with your wife, for example). But I believe that to totally eradicate personal relationships in the same work setting can have its own drawbacks (e.g. not to talk to your student in the hallway, to have the belief "it's my student's job to text me, not mine," my employee should not sit in the same table with me, etc.). In addition, a workplace or a learning institution can work better and more smoothly if everyone understands each other in a more personal level, rather than limiting knowledge of your colleagues/employees/students to only names, staff no., and the division he or she is put under.

But I digress, my original point in this post is that of all qualities professionals need to have, I believe that one of the most important ones would be have consistent treatments across individuals who work in the same setting. Sadly, from my own observations, a lot individuals who proclaim themselves to be professionals still practice backstabbing and favoritism - which is often sugarcoated by their use of the word, "professionalism" in many communications. And these people the same ones who have the professional experiences, and necessary training to show them that the opposite that they need to do is the opposite.

So, my conclusion is that true professionalism is not measured by how high your qualifications are, how many papers you have written, or how credible and reputable your university was. Professionalism is maturity and one of the only ways to nurture true professionalism is self-awareness and responsibility. I have perceived better professional personality from a person who only holds a degree than a guy who has a doctorate from an expensive university.

I am still learning and with my aspiration to be an effective educator in my field, I hope I am not inflicted with the disease that makes me want to use professionalism to cover my own way of being biased.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's A Busy April

If you notice, I have only updated one post in this month, which is the lowest if you consider the fact that April is almost ending. Well, my life has been pretty hectic this month; with my sister's engagement, and my convocation, and being sick right after convocation, and some other stuffs that occupied 70% of my free time).

I have nothing significant to say in this post, just one thing that I realized about my life lately. I notice that revenge is only sweet before it is acted out, and to reply an evil act with kindness always feels bitter in the beginning. But in the after-event, revenge always leaves you feeling remorseful, or at least bad, and being kind makes you feel surprisingly satisfied and content (which is not what you supposedly feel before an event).

You might wonder why I am talking about this. Well, just know that some people have blossomed into a person I never knew they could before. In the meantime I have more substantial thing to say later, these are some of the snapshots  in the recent convocation.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Is It Absolutely Your Choice?

I once heard one of my acquaintances said, "I hate it when people blame the others on what would be their own doing."

He's probably right, but I would say that the statement is equally judgemental and immature as, "Others should be blamed on what happens to us..."

While the latter probably comes from a behaviorist, the former comes from someone who employs humanistic views of life too much. As we learn throughout school, we know that extreme and singular utilization of perspective when analyzing something is not encouraged because life is always complicated and multifaceted. I won't talk about the second statement because we learn about that repeatedly growing up. My focus is the first statement, which can be unfair to many out there who find themselves stuck between individualism and collectivism.

We all know the power we have to choose who we want to be, to do what we want to do, and to act what we desire. This is what humanistic psychology asserts, that individuals have the freewill to choose. But much to our dismay, a lot of what we do are the results of the environmental influences - and often we do not realize it. Let me list down some of the social psychological phenomena that happen to us that can counterargue the extreme emphasis on the power of freewill.

1) Social conformity - When confronted by uniform decision from others, we often change our behavior or attitude to conform to that decision. You hang with five of your friends at a cafe, and you are trying to decide what you want to order for dinner. One friend suggests that you order a combo meal where all six of you can eat together, but you don't want that. You want a single meal where that meal belongs to you, only to you. But the other four friends agree to him and now they look at you to know what your decision is. If you are in the real situation, I would say you are pressured to conform to the decision of others and agree to order the combo meal.

2) Destructive obedience - We all know the power authority has upon us, but do you know to what extent the authority can exercise that power? A study by Stanley Milgram, which findings shocked the world, our obedience to the authority can be as destructive to the point of taking someone's life. What it requires for us to obey blindly is just the sign of authority and the belief that whatever we do, the consequences will be faced by the authority, not us. Now, ain't that something a freewill wouldn't do?

3) Bystander Effect - Kitty Genovese, Wang Yue, Ilan Halimi, and many other unreported cases where these people were dying but none offered help. The most disturbing part is that there were a lot of witnesses in the emergency place but the person was left dying on his or her own. The most famous theory to this phenomenon is that when we are surrounded by a a good number people, we always believe someone would step up and help the person. But it's not always the case, and what usually happens is that everybody thinks that and no one actually helps.

These are just among the famous instances where our freewill almost does not matter. What about the case where a wife who won't leave her abusive husband? Or a bully victim who commits suicide? Or a person who has troubles making friends because he has an emotionally crippled family? These are real cases and we often use the simplest logic, that they choose to do it, to explain why it happens. Our behaviors and actions are always the product of the interplay between our own decision making and the influences by the environment. Perhaps the first the society needs to have is awareness, then real change can happen.