Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Professionalism

There was a guest speaker today who spoke to all the students in the Aviation department. The speaker is internationally known and has an impressive biography.

It began very negative, pointing out all the flaws and mistakes and broken parts of the travel and transportation industry. I've decided almost everyone is qualified to be a critic. Some even get paid lots and lots of money to do it. I don't mind having my awareness opened to sometimes bad aspects of an industry I wasn't previously aware of.  However if the speaker doesn't point towards a better future, or some saving element of hope, some advice or suggestions for people taking constructive and positive action, than all he did was criticize. That's how today was. Sometimes we clap for people who are more interested in pointing fingers than making a better world.  I didn't clap, as there was nothing worthy of applause from this individual.

He had some vulgar language during much of the speech which I ignored. However at one point a student asked a legitimate question. The speaker trying to be funny called the student an ass hole. He later, again trying to be funny called the same student an ass hole again. Everyone laughed. During another part of this 45 min speech he referenced an big business accountant having an orgasm over being able to charge 8$ for a candy bar at a hotel minibar.

As an invited guest speaker, to call a student a vulgar name in response to a completely legitimate question in front of an entire auditorium to me is not only unprofessional but completely inappropriate. It's just not right. The intended comical nature doesn't change the fact. In my view I think speaker owes my fellow student a professional apology. It's not right to show up at a school, dressed in suit and tie, and demean a student like that, and entertain with sexual language. I know people laughed but laughter based on the most vulgar of references is not becoming of an invited professional. It's more like a 10yr old. He very very poorly represented himself and his trade.

A long biography should never be license for a professional guest speaker to be an idiot.  Entertaining us by bashing on an industry many of us love and want to be a part of I thought was anything but classy. I specifically asked him what we as the younger generation could do to bring out positive change in the industry but he was so focused on how broken things are that my, (like most other questions) was dodged and replaced by "how much he knew". The majority of his speech was negative. I'm extremely tolerant of language, people getting cheap laughs and the like, I'm not a sensitive person like that and actually enjoy diversity of language....this however this guy crossed a line and I told the department chair about it.  They agreed to bring in more professional speakers from then on.

How low our conversations, how vulgar our speech, how unintelligent our humor. - Joseph Smith

Professionalism isn't what it used to be. Some folks are just rough, I get that and have no problem with it. But what are we becoming when guest speakers in academic settings are calling students ass holes and talking about accountants having orgasms over 8$ candy bars.

Surly this is not the professionalism that America was built on. Am I naive to hope for and expect a better world than that?

2 comments:

  1. Finally, one I can get into (no offense, you know what I mean ;) ). I hear this one loud and clear Tay. I'm sure most of the audience felt the same way. It doesn't matter the language being used, in my opinion, but it matters in which the manner it was used. If it is derogatory or violent or with the intent to insult i'm totally against it and I think the majority would agree.

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