Professional or Human?

Could it be both, please? I mean can we be professional and human at the same time? Why is it considered unprofessional, if at times you do as if you were made of flesh and blood? We should not be forced to choose this or that.

Despite a fabulous, happy weekend, by Monday evening I felt squeezed out. My brain refused to take in more information even though I was supposed to work after getting home from work. The deadline was Tuesday morning and I had the kind of headache when you lose control of your brain activities. I started working regardless, but I could produce nothing sensible. Tuesday early morning I received an email inquiring about the status of the assignment. I was well within deadline but I answered that unfortunately I was not able to finish the job the previous night due to a migraine. The response came, lovingly and full of concern, ‘Ok, I hope it will be (ready) today’. Is it only me who feels in this sentence a tiny little ‘who the heck cares about why you are still not ready with the job’ overtone?

I normally do not share my issues with my employers, knowing it is noone else’s business but mine, but this particular company knows me for nearly 5 years and I felt, probably wrongly, that I can be honest about my situation instead of blaming it on my flatmates for example who let’s say locked me out of the house so I couldn’t work.

Why and when did we become this cold and so distanced from reality? Why is it considered a weakness if you live life as a human being and not as a careerist robot? There is nothing wrong with building a career but do we really have to leave our heart behind in the process?

In the first couple of years that I spent in London I did temping too. The saying “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.‘ – fully applies here.  Many of my then superiors tried to prove they are worth more than the young ones who they hired for a few weeks or only for a few hours. I have to say they rarely succeeded. It was amusing to see at times how easily temps could solve problems while the boss did everything to enhance the chaos. There is no point of accepting the role of a ‘subject’ at a workplace. They need your skills, you need their money – it’s an inderdependent relationship and so none is more important than the other. And honestly, noone and nothing can be more important than your health. If you need a rest and you can’t work late into the night, say so. They might not like you for a while but on the long run there is no other way. Once I had two very passionate (to put it mildly) bosses within the same department. They loved shouting at people and they did that regularly, regardless of age or sex, except with me. Never they raised their voice talking to me. Judging from this I think I will go on as before and if I have a migraine I will just go to bed even if someone thinks a project is above all.

Posted in UK

4 thoughts on “Professional or Human?

  1. I hope your migraine has gone now Adrienn and that you are fully recovered.

    Your article highlights the lack of personal awareness that has crept into society.

    Process, productivity and results have become the dominant focus in the West.

    Nothing wrong with that but as you describe, we are human. We all have feelings and, therefore, would like to feel valued by others, including those we work with.

    I believe emotional intelligence is a skill to be resurrected within the workplace.

    It only takes a moment to consider our own personal values towards others and then to filter this into the bigger picture of work output deadlines. Very often, a small slippage of this timeline does no overall harm.

    Good on you Adrienn for staying true to your values.

    • Thank you! Isn’t it crazy that you need a license to drive a car but we hardly recognize the importance and even the existence of emotional intelligence – that is essential to ‘drive’ every aspect of life.

  2. Hope you could finish the work in due time!!! And get rid of the migraine 😉 Thank you for your writing. Could also call it an eye-opener, as sadly it seems a need based on what I hear from many friends. Unfortunately, it already starts with the job interviews sometimes. Where they should actually be professional in the Human resources. I have experienced that many times. Only because if I felt from their behavior that my efforts were not appreciated then I looked elsewhere for new challenges, as they say 😉

    Good that you mentioned this example from your life about the angry bosses. This also helped me to see what happened in my last job. Though I saw it differently until now. I have often been told by friends that I am very honest, maybe too much. Well, that can also work out fine. From the first day I started there my tried to find something he could use against me, probably to make me do whatever he says, and accept it without thinking. That does not work with me, and we spent surprisingly much time just with talking about things which prevented me in doing my job. But I thought that if he felt it necessary then we should talk about these things, even for the manieth time. Especially when he questioned my Norwegian skills – without him being able to speak the language -, not only after I had passed the tests during the interviews, but even when I was already talking with and helping customers. Anyhow, after a while I noticed that he was ‘nagging’ my colleagues, but left me in peace. Ever since I was thinking that he got bored with me, but I can look at it this way – I won. Maybe his trust, but his respect, surely. In the end I left, partly because I was given a unique chance to live in Norway, but also because I could see that nothing changed in the big picture, and that all at the expense of work that could have been done much better, faster and easier.

    Just the other day I have read a very good article on work habit differences between generations. It helped me to realize that I am lucky to learn languages and stuff like IT related things, as they helped me to get on with the next generation that came after mine. Also I can see it now more clearly than before that simply because I choose another job if I am not satisfied with my present one, it does not necessarily mean that I give up too easily, but more like I choose consciously and trusting my own competency.

    • Thanks for your comment! In most cases at the workplace we are to blame if we are not treated the way we expect. You have to be consistent and confident from day 1. There is always someone who tries to release stress by trying to repress/victimize/bully others and they go for the ‘weakest’ so to say. The question that why we accept the role of victim is an other and much more complicated one. I hope you will find the right position in Norway soon!

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