Two days ago, I met an interesting woman on the bus. She was a professional actor who specialises in background work, also known as Extras. If you’ve ever watched a drama or movie and you see people in the background, she is one of them. When I was at university, I considered becoming an Extra but I couldn’t afford to pay agents’ registration fees. I would still love to be an Extra, out of curiousity and love for the movies.
She mentioned she’d been in a soap opera I watch from time to time. I asked her whether she knew the barmaid in the pub, who I was sure was an Extra, as she never has much to say. My new friend was impressed I had brought this up. She happened to have covered this Extra for a short spell while she was off. It really is a small world!
My actress friend discussed the divide between professional actors playing roles as Extras and Extras without any formal training. She complained about their lack of professionalism. She spoke of an Extra who was very unpleasant to her while she was on a particular soap opera. This Extra wasn’t a professional actor. She wasn’t aware that professional actors were always professional. Even if you can’t stand your colleagues, a professional actor never lets personalities get in the way. You get on with the job in hand.
I got to thinking about professionalism. Right now we are all acting various roles: parents, siblings, friends, employer, employee, etc. What does it mean to behave in a professional way? One definition of a professional states:
“Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.” (Dictionary)
I like the idea of behaving like a professional. Many of us spend way too much time being distracted from our roles. Perhaps the world will be a lot more peaceful if one behaved how one is expected to behave. Then again, what does it mean by “conforming to the standards of a profession?” Who makes up the standards? Are standards not based on someone or a group’s yardstick of how one should behave?
What if you set your own standards? My standards are as follows
“I will be myself. I will only write about what I love or what I feel passionate about, and in any style I choose. I will do what I love. I will allow others to have their own beliefs. In other words, I will allow others to dream their own dreams.”
Now that I have set my standards, I act in accordance with these standards. I focus my whole attention on acting like a professional and don’t get distracted.
To be distracted or to act unprofessionally is to let other people dictate how I should live my life or what I should do.
I have to say I love professionalism. I intend to keep it that way.
I am a Professional,
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