• Treating others with respect and courtesy, being honest and responsible at all times
  • Adhering to high standards of integrity and ethics without wavering
  • Dressing, communicating, and conducting myself in a manner appropriate to the setting

When time is short and the stakes are high, the thought of finding an easy way out is sometimes tempting. Cutting corners, taking shortcuts, and bending the rules all start to sound like viable options. However, those approaches are just as unpalatable and ill-advised when the pressure is high as they are on the easier days.

This leads to an important observation. The difference between an amateur and a professional is never more clear than when someone is facing a challenge and the temptation to waver from their standards. An amateur might compromise, but a true professional holds steady in spite of the difficult circumstance. Professionalism is all about having and maintaining standards. By its very definition, it is in the tough times that we will see if someone is a real professional. It is when we are tested that we get to show our true mettle and display our dedication.

Here are a few examples of professional behavior:

  • Showing up and doing the work even when it isn’t pleasant.
  • Fulfilling responsibilities when it is hard and it seems easier just to quit.
  • Finishing tasks thoroughly and correctly in spite of personal desires.
  • Following the rules even when it makes the work a lot harder.
  • Sacrificing personal gain when it comes at the expense of doing the right thing.

At Funds For Learning, we work hard to instill and foster professional behavior. In fact, we have specific professional standards of conduct to which we voluntarily adhere:

  • We have a Code of Conduct that was adopted early in our history and made public in 2004.
  • We have a Client Code of Confidentiality that every employee agrees to and signs as a condition of their employment.
  • We have adopted and agree to maintain compliance with the E-rate Management Professionals Association Code of Ethics for E-rate consultants.

Of course, these Codes in and of themselves do not guarantee professional behavior. That is one of the reasons that we have our GuideMarks. We take time each week to reflect upon aspects of what defines a professional at Funds For Learning. By doing so, we hope to build up the professional traits of each person in our organization and in the organizations that we impact.

All of this is done and encouraged so that when the chips are down and the stress is up, the world will see who we are -- and that they will recognize us as the professionals that we strive to be.


Key Words and Phrases
Exhibiting courteous behavior; Conscientious manners; Technical prowess; Expert; Ethical standards; Trained; Experienced; Authority.

Opposite Terms
Amateur; Inexperienced; Dabbler; Non-expert.


GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

Copyright © 2020 Funds For Learning, LLC. About the Funds For Learning GuideMarks.

Previous GuideMarks