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Over the years I have come to learn that professionalism is an accessory I can wear to position myself on the favourable side of everything I do. This is why, for the longest time, this accessory has been one of the things that were highlighted to me as a key element in any work environment. The PPS Graduate Internship Development Programme has certainly made me learn of the many layers that form part of professionalism.
My personal experience at PPS Short-Term Insurance has exposed me to several attributes that contribute to the journey of being a professional. I realised that being professional doesn’t only mean one has to dress formally, speak in a certain way or even carry yourself in a certain manner in corporate settings. One can be professional or unprofessional all because of their mindset and attitude towards their work environment.
A pure example in my case was being part of the service environment, where one is required to communicate constantly with colleagues and clients, and my first encounter within this context taught me the importance of taking how I come across very seriously.
One might overlook the idea of communication, but I believe that certain skills that often get disregarded play a vital role in one’s career development. A real-life example was the few experiences I had during telephonic conversations with clients, because they required me to be cognisant of the way I interact with them during phone calls. Since then my view of how I interact in a professional setting has changed, whether it’s telephonically or otherwise.
I have also valued the ability to engage with colleagues who have been working in the corporate space for many years. Through our conversations, they have shared nuggets of wisdom and tips on relationship building, work ethic and other things relating to the workplace setting. By adopting a teachable spirit, I have come to the conclusion that professional development is not limited to textbook information but includes the day-to-day activities and situations one encounters.
While reinforcing what I learned in tertiary, the PPS Graduate Internship Programme has continued to groom me as a young professional in corporate South Africa. This has been done through the monthly training sessions facilitated by the PPS Academy, and the classroom-based sessions have empowered me to be confident in what I do, while I contribute to the organisation’s growth.
What would professional development be without leadership? The space that I was placed in allowed me to meet people who are the epitome of sound leadership. Our managers have demonstrated some of the key qualities that have contributed to my growth within the company. Therefore, I have noted that PPS as a company provides an environment conducive enough for everyone to be whoever they want to be, while we hold each other to a higher standard to reach the objectives of the business.
I’m quite excited about the opportunities that have been presented to me, because I have observed growth from the moment my journey started to-date. I can confidently attest that I have been equipped with tools that have ensured that the first year of establishing myself as a professional has been smooth and worthwhile.
- Obakeng Meje