Ready for anything

On Wednesday I was in the audience at a conference when my excellent colleagues, Dan & Sarah, presented how Henley Careers helps post-graduate students achieve their career goals.  One of the pillars of the strategy they talked through was Enabling Professional Readiness.

waistcoatBut what is Professional Readiness? Is sitting at your desk, twiddling your hair & watching last night’s Love Island on your PC professional? I use that example as it’s something I heard about a few days ago, relayed in terms that showed, for that company, it certainly wasn’t.

All over England, middle managers are trying to reinvent themselves by wearing waistcoats, a la Gareth Southgate. Professional?

What about men wearing smart shorts in the office on a hot day?

How about having the Tour de France, or Wimbledon, showing all day on the screens around the office?

Well, I’ve been wearing shorts at work during the UK heatwave, and my friend contracting at a sports betting company, has live sports showing across from his desk every hour of the day.

So is the unhelpful answer that Professional Readiness is undefinable, as it’s different everywhere? I’d argue that it’s actually ‘Professional’ that’s undefinable; Professional Readiness is the ability to identify what professional means in the environment that you are in, and then alter your behaviour accordingly.

So that’s what we’re trying to do in Henley Careers; enable & empower the students to be able to ‘read the room’ and understand an organisation’s professional norms, and the help them practice the, sometimes subtle, changes in behaviour to succeed in those environments.

Now where can I get a waistcoat?