The Line of Professionalism

Recently, I have been witness to appalling levels of unprofessionalism within a working environment that I am a part of. It developed after a rival ‘company’ was started up – rather than finding this competition as an opportunity to tighten up the way we work and get some friendly motivation going, the head of the original group stated and encouraged slander towards these new arrivals, even going so far as to say those of us who were interested in being involved in any way with the other group would not be welcome any more.

It is my generation that have grown up watching the fall of many a businessman and company due to arguments and underhand conversations, almost always leading to court and penalty. Surely, as a group of young people who have been witness to the consequences of such behaviour and scandal, we should be more vigilant to ensure we do not turn out the same way? And yet, within a few minutes on a ‘private’ social networking group, things were said that would be highly questionable in a court of law, and in fact go against a number of legislations.

As I read these comments, I found myself torn between anger and disappointment, and a rising urge to leave the group and establishment completely. Instead, I managed to keep a cool head but express my opinions regarding the behaviour in a calm yet firm way, directing a large part of my concern to the head of the group as it was his responsibility to maintain a professional decorum amongst his staff, not play along with it. To my even greater disappointment, people responded to this in a lighthearted way, apparently not recognising their lack of respect. Unfortunately for the group, another member had chosen to move to the new company, and upon reading their comments voiced the fact that she had made the right decision, but also that my attitude was correct – not that I was requiring validation from anyone, but I feel that her response added to my argument and highlighted the unsolicited nature of the discussion. To this, the head of the company attempted to explain himself, but I feel only dug a deeper hole and confirmed my thoughts that he is in fact completely unqualified for the job. This, however, is another matter.

I wonder though, should I have done more? Should I have taken the next step and informed the new company of the comments going on behind their back, and the various infringements on privacy that were occurring? Would it have helped to report the slander to someone higher up? Should I leave the group, even if I keep contributing? These I fear are matters I am going to continue to mull over. It would appear that my view of a ‘professional’ student group has been tainted, and I now see them for the immature groups that so often grace our headlines. I hope that somehow my trust and regard for this institution is regained, but until then I can only wait.


Please be sensitive about the nature of these incidents, and do not link without my permission.


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