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Academic Career Experience & Service Learning

Professionalism

by Dana Chapin

Making a good first impression is something most of us think about as we begin any new job. The way we dress is obviously one of the first impressions we leave with people and sometimes the only one. There is no single proper way to dress. A goal of being clean and neat on a daily basis is far more important than whether we wear something twice in one week. Short skirts (perhaps mid-thigh and shorter) and tight clothing, as well as jeans and t-shirts should be avoided when dressing for work. Perhaps a rule of thumb for all of us to remember is that if it's something you would wear to a picnic, don't wear it to work.

Attitude should be thought of as the most important attribute you can have for a happy, successful and healthful career. Your attitude affects your day. It affects the day of everyone around you; but more importantly, it affects your results--and thus your future.

Your willingness to cooperate and help are great ways to leave a positive impression that won't go unnoticed. If you finish your work early, ask the people you work with if you can be of help to them. People remember you for wanting to help to get the job done.

There are no insignificant jobs. We are all part of the same team. Teamwork is the most effective way to reach our goals, and doing this with an open mind as well as a positive attitude makes teamwork lots of fun and much more productive.

The word quality carries a lot of weight in this company. If you haven't heard much about it--it won't be long before you do because quality performance is a commitment to excellence by each employee. Quality is truly caring and having a real desire to do the best job we can. It's treating people with respect and consideration (inside and outside the company) every day. It's striving for the best we have to offer in all that we do no matter how small the chore may seem. Quality should be interwoven into every task you do--whether it is delivering mail or handling customer complaints. Quality is also caring about the appearance of your written or typewritten work--and the content of your work. Proofreading can be tedious, but it's very, very important to check for spelling, grammar and content. One wrong word, or a sentence left out can change the entire meaning of the document, and that could be disastrous. Finally, quality is making the most of every opportunity we get to continually improve and expand our capabilities, both professionally and personally.

Treat other people the way you like to be treated. Remember the golden rule--It really works! If you are having a difficult day, try not to take it out on the people you work with. Try to keep that smile on your face. That smile will take you a mile further on your road to success.

Dana Chapin wrote this article while participating as a co-op with Dow Chemical USA.

Reprinted from: Dow Chemical USA, "Co-op Supervisor Update Newsletter," October 1992 issue.


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