Monday, October 10, 2011

Passion V Professionalism

Today at work I was talking to Rene, the woman who runs the Teen center. She was telling me about some of the trouble that kids have been involved in in the past either out in the community or in school. In occupations involving young people, it can be really hard for some of them to distinguish their place in the issue, because they feel such a passion for the work they do and for the kids they help. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and look at the issue, which brings me to my next lesson.

Lesson #9, There is a fine line between passion and professionalism.

No matter how strong your feelings are about an issue, you need to handle it as professionally as possible. The main thing they stress at the teen center is that they can’t do the parents’ jobs for them. When kids get in trouble in school, everyone’s first reaction is to march into the school and demand to know what happened, and that it can’t be my child’s fault. As head of the teen center, Rene just can’t do that. That doesn’t help the child learn from their actions. What they have to do it sit down with the parents and give them advice on what to do, and how they should approach the issue at home. Then, when the kids come back to the center, they need to diffuse any issues that could arise through the kids and have a talk with the child to make sure they know what they did and that no matter what, getting in trouble with the school is not acceptable behavior.

When you work in such a passionate line of work you can’t let your emotions overwhelm you. You have to keep a cool head and approach the issue professionally. You need to really think about what is best for the teens and how they can best get a learning experience out of the issues that arise.