Old-school professionalism.

While cleaning out a century or so of mementos, effluvia and homework assignments from my parents’ house, I ran across a hand-out that my mother or her mother or maybe the ten or fifteen other relatives of their generations who also taught school received during teacher training, entitled “What makes a professional worker professional?”


Since, as the hand-out huffs, “frequent reference is made to a ‘professional attitude’ and ‘professional conduct’ on the part of persons engaged in…professions” including, I might add, our very own esteemed real estate profession, I thought it helpful to pass on “the characteristics associated with true professional status”.  To be even more darn helpful, I’ve added a few comments specific to real estate.

The professional is doing it old school if he or she:

  1. Does not require close supervision.  And may not want it.  Which may be why he or she got into real estate.
  2. Does not regard himself as an employee.  Because of this, may be unemployable outside real estate.
  3. Does not work by the hour, nor expect to be paid by the hour.  And, occasionally, works long hours without getting paid. 
  4. Takes full responsibility for the results of his efforts and actions.  I believe the term these days is “accountability”.
  5. Continually seeks self-improvement.  Failing that, understands that he or she doesn’t know everything.
  6. Contributes to the skill and knowledge of the profession.  Occasionally by taking the agent on the other side of the transaction to school.
  7. Respects the confidence of others.
  8. Avoids rumor and hearsay.  Unless it concerns pending or recent sales.
  9. Adjusts his grievances through proper channels, refraining from complaining or grumbling.  Especially at the office or on broker’s tour because, really, no one wants to hear it.
  10. Is sensitive to the problems of his fellow workers.  Unless they complain or grumble.
  11. Does not advance himself at the expense of others.  Unless competing with other agents for a sale.
  12. Is proud of his profession.  Or at least takes pride in the difference, always profound and usually positive, his profession makes in the lives of clients.
  13. Chief desire is to render a service.  In all seriousness, this is the biggee.  Everything that’s good flows from this.
  14. Is loyal to his fellow workers.  But see 10 (above).
  15. Meets his professional obligations.

That’s quite a laundry list of expectations to live up to, fellow agents and estimable colleagues.  Can we do it old school?  We can certainly try.

copyright © John Fyten 2016


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