Professionalism vs Good Work

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I was assisting one of my clients with content for their website. We prepared an outline and decided to hire the services of a professional “Ghost Writer” on a few articles for the company BLOG. We selected one writer over other shortlisted, for his quality work, even though he was a bit expensive.  He wanted his payment in advance. Initially, we were a bit apprehensive, and then gave in. He had agreed to provide 10 articles in one week but didn’t submit even one at the end of the week. When we contacted him, he presented his excuse stating he had contracted dengue and was hospitalized.  He then requested for another week’s time. After one week, he submitted SEVEN articles and took another two days to complete the remaining. Though he didn’t complete his task in time, we were happy with the quality of his articles, which was the primary reason for his selection. 

A couple of weeks later, I received a new assignment for another client. This client was looking for Executive Biography of SIX of their leaders to be posted on their company website. Once again, we reached out to the same Ghost Writer. His payment was made in advance and mutually agreed to complete the project in ONE week. Yet again, he missed the deadline. This time, his excuse was that he was taking care of a close family member; a cancer patient. However, he promised to complete the project in following THREE days. But he missed that too, citing the same reason and asked to extend the deadline by another week. We were crossed with his behavior but agreed to extend as we had already made his payment. Finally, he completed the task. 

A few years ago, I stumbled upon an employee who would abstain herself on critical days in office. Every time we scheduled an intra-department meeting or her monthly performance review meeting, she would just abstain herself. Once we had six-sigma audit by third-party and she was to represent her function and once again she abstained herself. However, on this occasion, she went a step ahead and switched-off her mobile phone. The following day she told us that she wasn’t keeping well. Four months later, we terminated her employment.  

These TWO are not isolated incidents, I am sure many managers and functional heads would have gone through similar experiences. My question is, why people, who call themselves professionals, –

  1. Do not respect their work and keep their words?
  2. Do not choose to be proactive in informing their clients or reporting managers about possible delays?  

 Personally, I don’t think I will ever work again with that Ghost writer OR hire that lady. 

I was elucidated TWO lessons very early in my career –

  1. Religiously follow the turnaround time (TAT). If you are likely to miss the TAT or the project deadline, inform your client/customer in advance.
  2. Work as you would have worked for self OR as you would have wanted others to work for you. No matter the quality of your work, if you are not delivering it on time, it is as good as not done.   

In simple words, professionalism is about honesty, integrity, and accountability. 

Are you a professional? Do you keep your customers informed beforehand about a probable delay or a problem OR do you wait for a follow-up? 

Life is very simple, don’t make it complicated.

Sanjeev Himachali

Sanjeev Himachali is a Strategic HR Consultant, Talent Strategist,  Management Consultant and a Performance Coach. He exhibits over a decade and a half years of progressive, leadership experience and core competencies in talent acquisition, management, and development, HR program management, compensation & benefits management, and staff engagements.


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