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How Professionalism Became Perfectionism in Society

Perfectionism is ironically leading us to failure.

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Professionalism is necessary and beneficial; it allows us to have a personal and work life while keeping both separate. It also means being proficient and trying to gain the best outcome at work. So, when did this turn into a code for making no mistakes?

At the workplace, no matter what sector of work you are in, there will be times when you won’t be able to meet the standard of being ‘professional.’ Whether this is looking the part or being in the suitable head space to be a particular persona, there will be times when circumstances impact your service to others and vice versa.

However, I have noticed that in the workplace, professionalism has become a place where being and feeling human is not allowed. That mistakes mean you are not adequate for the role and that perfectionism is the standard. This attitude gives us no room to be vulnerable and honest with our colleagues when making mistakes because we don’t want to seem insufficient.

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We are becoming the problem instead of fixing it

This damages individuals and society as a whole; it teaches us that disconnecting from the feelings of others and our own is the only way to progress in society. It means that looking out for no one but ourselves is the only way to survive, causing a domino and backward effect.

Instead of fixing the root problem, which is capitalism being designed for self-interest purposes only, we are feeding into it. We are deprived of seeing one another as humans who make mistakes and only see each other as services, what we can gain from one another.

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The standard that everyone at work should look and act the same also causes us to water down who we are. This extent of professionalism disables us from showing our character and handling situations in a respectable, rational manner. Instead, we have to approach situations where the ‘customer is always right’ despite sometimes being wrong. We are taught to put ourselves in circumstances where we are disrespected and not to get bad reviews on our service.

Perfectionism has become the new standard that has made society very insecure. Unless we are the best at something, it is better for us not to pursue that path because what’s the point, right? Instead of trying to be the best that we can be, we have to be the best, and if you are not, then you lose. We have become a society where we can’t even enjoy hobbies because if we are not gaining status, then it’s pointless.

At the end of the day, when everyone takes off their uniform and their façade of professionalism, we are all the same. Our uniform, which shows our position, doesn’t hold any value because we all go home, we all eat, and we all sleep.

We all need acceptance and compassion; if we don’t have each other, we have no one.

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