What makes a person unprofessional? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Megan O'Malley, touring trombonist, retail ghost, master of unskilled labor, on Quora:

"Unprofessional", the Dictionary.com definition:

  • "Not professional; not pertaining to or characteristic of a profession."
  • "At variance with or contrary to professional standards or ethics; not befitting members of a profession, as language, behavior, or conduct."
  • "Not done with professional competence".

Examples of general things that might make a person "unprofessional" in a variety of situations, in no particular order:

  • Showing up to work late
  • Dressing inappropriately
  • Practicing poor hygiene
  • Using inappropriate or rude language
  • Harassing, bullying, or distracting coworkers
  • Flirting
  • Sexual harassment or inappropriate physical contact
  • Exhibiting threatening behavior (physical, verbal, written violence)
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Disrespecting your boss/manager/employer
  • Demanding special treatment
  • Refusing to do work assigned to you
  • Stealing or taking things that don't belong to you (food, office supplies, etc.)
  • Sabotaging others' work
  • Being overly criticizing of others' work or behavior
  • Being surly (bad-tempered) or rude
  • Procrastination
  • Discrimination
  • Making unfair or inappropriate judgments about coworkers or the company
  • Poor communication (not returning emails or calls, failure to follow up)
  • Poor work ethic or laziness
  • Performing at an amateur level (literally un-professional!)
  • Failing to keep promises or repay favors to coworkers, customers, bosses, etc.
  • Passing blame
  • Lying
  • Excessive complaining
  • Spreading rumors, badmouthing, backstabbing
  • Unwillingness to work with others
  • Inability to work alone or without someone "holding your hand"
  • Using a personal relationship to gain advantages at work
  • Displaying excessive uncalled-for emotion (screaming, crying, etc.)
  • Bringing non-work problems and issues to work
  • Defensiveness or excessive sensitivity to constructive criticism
  • Displaying a consistently negative attitude

...and last but not least, failing to report unprofessional behavior to a supervisor.

Different occupations will have different standards for what they consider "unprofessional." For example, I'm a musician. If I am supposed to play a certain piece of music, but start improvising instead, that's unprofessional. Or if I'm supposed to improvise something but I play the written music instead, that's also unprofessional.

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