We all have a role in some sort of play. Each day that we go to work, there is a degree of professionalism which we are expected to live up to. The problem for me is that professionalism has many gray areas. It is something that is perceived and therefore not always concrete or defensible. Professionalism has situational boundaries. It confuses the hell out of me. Anything involving judgment and how it appears to the outside makes me nervous.

My first job after my first attempt of college was at a furniture store. I was making about $9 per hour and working for one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. I asked my employer how I should dress for the job. I told him that I wanted to look professional but I also wanted to look appropriate. He told me this:

“Appearance is not important here. We ask that you conduct yourself with decency; decency needs no defense. People can see right through an expensive suit. Folks are willing to accept jeans and a shirt if they are treated with respect and decency.”

I have often wondered how I would perform in a professional environment that had specific rules of how I should conduct myself, however, I have never wondered what it looks like to act with decency. I have not always acted with decency but I have always known what the decent option was, even if I chose not to implement it.

When the rules appear grey, the situation seems complex, and the appropriate action is subject to interpretation, act with decency. As my former employer told me,

“Decency needs no defense.”

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

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