And let me start my saying, I'm not perfect.
I can be disrespectful, inconsiderate and downright obnoxious sometimes and I know it. Sometimes I know I'm doing it and simply don't care, but sometimes I'm just unleashing emotions that I've lost control of for a (hopefully) brief moment after being pushed too far or being stretched too thin.
But having worked/interned in a variety of newsrooms, nonprofits, museums, hockey teams, bagel shops and also volunteered for more nonprofits, there are some general themes and regular occurrences that are guaranteed to drive me bonkers.
That said, I believe in respect. At work, at home, at play, everywhere.
It doesn't mean being nice to someone just because they exist.
But it does mean recognizing that there will always be someone smarter, faster and better than you. Learn from that person.
It also means that respect is not given out like cookies. It has to be earned.
I come home whining about this a lot lately and M keeps telling me that I sell myself short. He reminds me that I may not be the oldest person in the room, but I have experience, skills and expertise in certain areas that make me someone legitimately able to wield some influence and that it's truly my duty to do so in order for things to improve.
I remember being a young journalism student, then intern, then rookie reporter. There were plenty of things I thought could be done better. But instead of telling those who had been around longer than I had how to do their jobs, I watched, learned and took all of that to inform the kind of journalist I wanted to be.
Instead of telling others how to behave, I first made sure I was doing my best work, quickly and without complaint.
And I can promise you, that alone began to earn the respect of my peers and those who had been in the business far longer than I had. Then I kept doing it.
It's also a little of letting people do their work. I don't think I understood this so much as a rookie, but when I'm up to my neck in work and am putting out fires left and right, it's not a good time to pester me with something that you can easily Google, or nonsense that is not at all relevant to the tasks at hand. And for the love of all things, don't respond to a very detailed email that has answered every possible anticipated questions with a single line asking something that I just told you.
And a little bit of realizing that not everyone around you wants to choke on the perfume you apparently bathed in or listen to your recap of American Idol or whatever else you did last night. Once in awhile, fine, be loud, laugh, goof off, but if that's all anyone ever sees you do, I guarantee you, I will not respect you. I might eventually throw a box of paperclips at you.
There's always that old saying "on oversight on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
I believe in recognizing how much you don't know. I know a lot about what I do, but also feel overwhelmed on a pretty regular basis with the sheer amount of things I don't know. Hell, there's plenty out there that I don't even know exists, let alone know and understand. Work to know as much as you can in your field, be confident in your knowledge, but don't assume that race is finished. Keep learning and getting better.
I believe that always talking about how much you know will usually expose just how little you actually know.
I believe in admitting that you're wrong, or just deferring to the person who knows more about a particular thing than you do. Or go really big and learn from that person.
I believe in thanking those around you for a job well done when deserved. On the flip side, don't complain, criticize or be otherwise a jerk when you were not the person who did all the work. If you know how to do something, do it. If you don't, let those who do get it done and then say thanks.
I believe that "reply all" is very rarely a good idea.
I believe in learning the lay of the land before starting a crusade to shake things up. But when things really need to shake up, learn it fast.
I believe that sometimes you have to work within an imperfect structure to get things done. Complaining about the imperfections won't get the work done any faster.
At some point, you have to roll up your sleeves and DO something. Talking about ideas is great, complaining about everything that's going wrong is fine sometimes, but if you really want my respect, get to work. Put those ideas in motion, start fixing those things that are wrong.
Really, above most things, I believe in being good at what you do and letting that speak for itself. I used to tell my college news staff all the time, "Don't tell me that I'm wrong, prove to me that you're right." If you want me to think you're good at what you do, don't tell me, show me.
Lately, I've been super busy with all kinds of projects at work, the rink, journalism organizations, and more. I can't say I've been super on top of it and gotten everything done that needed to get done, but if I'm digging in and devoting my time to raise the bar, my irritation with everything listed above tends to go through the roof.
So perhaps I'm being judgmental and intolerant, but I'm having a very hard time understanding why such simple things seem to be so hard. And I have an even harder time just letting it all go and carrying on with my own awesomeness (which is usually M's advice).
If you want respect, earn it. When others earn it, respect them.
What about you? What do you believe it when it comes to respect or professional life? What are you pet peeves?