School is going smoothly, and I'm glad to be able to say that despite sitting in the classroom with the frequent severe temperature shifts, a developing head-cold and a bad case of fatigue. However, being back into business studies has woken up a few old maxims I usually left to sleep somewhere between the correct way to fold a fitted sheet after its been washed, and the proper colour to wear for a pocket-square.
I speak, of course, of the idea of Professionalism. That's not to say that I was unprofessional as a cook, though there were times when my professionalism left something to be desired. The difference is that professionalism changes a bit when we're talking about an office setting. Certain things that pass for situation normal in an industrial kitchen are totally unacceptable in the offices of an accounting or legal firm. For one thing, there's a much higher premium placed on deportment and dress.
The thing is, as professionals, there are certain unwritten standards to which we are held. Customers and managers like to see professionals with a charismatic way and a sharp sense of dress. A cheap dress shirt counts for little when one can wear a nicer one. A tie with a subtle but unique design seems like a cheap innovation but can cost two, maybe three times what a similar-but-not-as-nice tie would cost. A simple suit, even with a good fit, is rarely a substitute for a tailor-made one... and so on.
Don't get me wrong, I like all of those things. I like them a lot. I'm just concerned that acquiring these goods, and the charismatic, I-own-the-room demeanour that comes with them, is detrimental to the virtue of Humility. Where is the line drawn between taking a bit of pride in one's appearance, behaviour, and profession, and that pride becoming Vanity?
It's an interesting question, anyway.