The OF Blog: Failures in professionalism

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Failures in professionalism

Been thinking about professionalism of all sorts lately.  Reflecting back on those times where I would fail to give it my best, to work through the tiredness, the seasonal depression, the illnesses that I've had with my liver over the past year and a half.  Thinking especially about how much I've dreaded the thought of going back into any sort of classroom, attempting to educate those who not only don't want to be educated, but who seek to insult any and all teachers whenever the chance presents itself.  It's horrible, being so happy and relieved when I was laid off six months ago coming up tomorrow and how much I'm dreading being a long-term sub starting in a week.  It's just unlike me, as I used to lose sleep whenever I'd start something new, not out of dread, but because I was so eager to start and to do the best job possible.

In other fields, procrastination is horrible.  I still have a few books I really need to have reviews for that might take a month longer than I had semi-promised the authors.  I hate being late and I know the feeling of waiting for those few that I promise to do a solicited review for (mind you, this does not mean that I sugarcoat my opinions, as some have found out to their chagrin, although I don't try to be rude in noting what I felt were weaknesses in their stories).  Yet I take on too much.  Surely that too could be seen as a lack of professionalism, at least in the sense that I make assurances that I know would be difficult to achieve on time?

And yet despite these personal failings, I also find myself thinking that it is poor form to see others slacking with what they do.  Oh, I'm sure there are some wondering if I'm thinking about them directly and the answer, as always, is that I'm thinking in groups as a whole and not individuals.  But there have been too many examples of people, both online and not, who cut corners, not trying to do a task to their fullest.  In review blogging, it seems as though several have fallen into ruts, making excuses for why they don't do more than just the new and shiny or even to attempt to do much more than provide what can be found in a two-paragraph Amazon reader review.  Sure, sure, blogging is a "hobby," something done for a "love of reading."  To a degree, I can understand that, since most doing it will never see a dime for what they do.

However, part of me just wants to call "bullshit" to all this.  If one is doing blogging just for one's self, then one probably wouldn't spend the effort needed to build an audience.  And as much as it chagrins me to admit it, with audiences come expectations.  Some seem to expect me to write scads of in-depth, reflective reviews and occasional "controversial" columns.  That's fine.  It's an unspoken "promise" of sort that I'll try my best not to fall into ruts and to provide eclectic reviews and commentaries on a wide variety of topics and books.  As long as I'm trying to run this blog, I have an unstated "duty" to fulfill my own expectations and those of others.  To do otherwise is, it seems at times to me, to fail to be professional in meeting and exceeding expectations, personal and audience alike.

And now to think about a bit of rest, before I venture back into the breach, trying to fulfill those semi-promises that I'm late in fulfilling.


James said...


*looks off in the other direction*

I may have to work on my slacking off a bit.


Anonymous said...

I just started my blog in May and before that I spent several months window shopping book blogs to see what I wanted to do/not do with mine. Anyway, with matters of professionalism, I think the blogs (which there seems to be a lot) who let their professionalism slack off for a chronic amount of time seem to cover it up with read-a-thons and other challenges like that.

I know not every blog who does that are suffering from failures of professionalism, but it seems like people are getting good at covering up their professional issues with little kitschy activities post after post after post which increase their audience while actually getting nothing done that is applicable to the original focus of the blog.

I don't know if any of that even makes sense...

Chad Hull said...

The title of this post made me think it would be one or your 'controversial' post; so in that regards, it was a success. ( I thought you'd be calling people out!)

Sounds like more burn out than failure to me. I don't think it's possible to break a 'semi-promise.' Should your liver allow it, buy a nice bottle of Scotch and recharge the batteries. Take a week off and don't feel bad about it.

Lsrry said...

Yeah, it's bad burning out before you ever really start a new job (again), but it's really stressful what I do for a living. I was near total-breakdown a year ago due to it and I feel the signs again and...and I need a job. Not a fun situation at all.

Harry Markov said...

BUT you seem to forget that I have a blog for the specific purpose of coming up with explanations. I am sure that my audience expects me to flake and come up with an excuse. I am a smart one.

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