Vatterott OKC Paralegal Studies

We don't teach you what to think. We teach you HOW to think.

More on professionalism

There will be times in your life that you meet someone you don’t like.  You might not like their ideas or you might not just like them.  Here’s the deal – that really doesn’t matter.  You must remain professional if you expect to be taken seriously as a paralegal.  It is easier than you think to disagree without being disagreeable.  It is easier than you think to say nothing if you think you may say something angry.

You do not have the right as a student, a person, or a professional to verbally bash or belittle anyone else.  It doesn’t matter who the person is in your life.  Would you want to be treated in that manner?  Would you want your best friend treated in that manner?  Would you treat your boss in that manner?

The legal field is one of the most conservative fields in the professional industry.  That doesn’t just include the way we dress.  It also is inclusive of behavior.  It’s really easy to get a bad reputation and not be able to find a job simply because you act in an inappropriate manner.

As an adult learner, you face some unique challenges.  You must balance your education and your family, your work and your education, and your work and your family.  That isn’t an easy task; these aren’t easy classes.  However, a bad day doesn’t give anyone the justification to take out their frustrations on any other person.  It is not only unprofessional, but it is also unkind.

Here are some tips for resolving a conflict:

  • Cool off.  If you feel angry or upset, walk away from the situation for a little while.  There is no shame in keeping your composure.
  • Think before you speak.  Some live by the philosophy of is it true, kind, or necessary.  I realize there are times we have to address issues in our lives that aren’t true or kind.
  • Look at the other person’s point of view.  You are dealing with someone’s spouse, mother, father, or child.  Even if you disagree, it is not a time to be cruel.  Words hurt people.  You can take a tube of toothpaste and squeeze it on to a paper plate.  Those are your words.  Once you say it, it’s out there.  People can and do forgive.  People do not forget.  Take a toothpick and try to put the toothpaste back in to the tube.  It’s close to impossible.  You can’t take your words back.
  • Write it out.  When we have the opportunity to think before presenting an idea, we can usually edit it to mean exactly what we intend as opposed to flying off the handle.
  • Examine the reason why you are upset.  Is it a personal or professional issue?  What is your bias?  We all have some amount of bias.  That’s just part of life.
  • Consider others who were present.  What was the sociological view point?  It could be that you just don’t identify with the main stream view and that’s just fine.  However, there are better ways to express that than exploding.
  • Yes, we all have bad days.  No, you don’t get to be mean because of it.
  • Talk about it in private.
  • Find a mediator if need be.

We all encounter people we don’t necessarily have the ability to get along with on a personal level.  That’s why we are professionals.  More is expected of us than the average person.  You are above average.  You are the role model.  You are the professional.


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  1. Pingback: More on professionalism | The Promiscuous Writer

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