Personal vs. Professional
Why at work, we should always be the latter.
There’s a saying in the professional world, which is:
”It’s nothing personal. It’s just business”.
It’s one of those phrases, which can either make or break your day.
Great if you’re the firer, who’s getting rid of someone useless. Not so great if you needed that job to pay your bills.
It’s debatable whether employing such a cutting phrase in your daily business life is appropriate or moral, but when you think about it, it does actually contain an awful lot of truth.
You see, when you look carefully at the expression (”it’s nothing personal, it’s just business”), you gradually realise that, yes, the personal has nothing to do with business.
Let’s unpack that idea a little.
A voice-over talent is booked to do a job. The talent arrives late, because their car wouldn’t start, because it was overdue to go into the shop, because they let their friend use it last weekend while they were sick in bed, because they had been out partying until 6am last Tuesday…
I think we can all agree, having read all that, that the personal should have nothing to do with business.
But despite that, we often tell ourselves soothing stories that things weren’t our fault; that circumstances, events and people conspired against us.
Yet we can alter our reality – even in the professional voice-over world.
What if the copy was not ready when you arrived? Out of your control.
What if the text was poorly written? Read it beautifully.
What if the client doesn’t know what they want? Give them three wonderful takes and let them choose one.
The truth of the matter is that as a professional, there are no excuses. Hence the standard professional reply to ”how are you?” should be ”I’m really great, thanks. And you?” Nobody cares about any other response. When the light goes on, you’re on. But if you make your personal life the arbiter of your professional life (by making excuses, or by responding in a way that aims to get the sympathy vote), you will just come across as unprofessional.
I learned about business and professionalism the hard way. When I was young and still learning my craft, I naively thought regular contact with fellow professionals meant that we existed in a friendly, respectful, co-working bubble. But I soon realised that trust is earned and personal matters should be left out of the professional environment. And that being the case, I can’t say any more than that.
But learning the value of professionalism (at the expense of the personal) was an important lesson for me. Years later, I teach it (and preach it) to my Richcraft students. ”The reality”, I tell them, ”is that you’re just gobs on sticks” (as my friend and colleague Stephen Lyons would say – gobs meaning mouths). ”Turn up on time. Be prepared. Deliver the copy. Do the job. Be professional.”
And if you can be personable too – as opposed to personal – that’s a bonus.
To find out more about how to hire her for your project, or for vocal coaching, click the links above.