When I was in college, my adviser loved me. Not because I was that stand out golden child student, but because any time I went to see her I had pretty much already done her job.
I am all about being as prepared as possible. I am all about doing my homework and going into things with most of my questions already answered, but needing confirmation. I am all about keeping things neat (uhm, professionally… don’t anyone look at my desk or under the bed…) and in order. So when I went in to be advised before a new semester, I already had my degree plan filled out, classes selected, and a game plan typed up. All she really ever had to do was look it over and go, “Oh okay.” and maybe put me into those classes that required an adviser’s approval for admittance.
Similarly, I remember when my girlfriends and I went on a road trip weekend. I made sure I had maps, hotel confirmation numbers, addresses, phone numbers, etc. all in a folder. I made sure at least my parents had every single one of my friend’s cell phone numbers just in case of an emergency. They knew where we were going to be, what route we were taking, and what hotels we were staying at… I felt completely responsible for all of my friend’s lives, and I took it very seriously. I had every thing imaginable written down and mapped out ahead of time.
Perhaps most recently, when I had to meet with a lawyer a year and a half ago, I researched what they could possibly need, and I walked in their offices with 90% of the documents they were going to ask me for in hand. The last 10% I got to them within two days, equally in order and laid out for them to use as the needed. The lawyer was more than a little bit floored by all of this.
And that, my dear reader, is what brings me to this blog today.
The fact that someone laying this out neatly and plainly should not be a surprise, in my mind. At the very least, in a professional sense.
As I’ve been helping my parents with tax season, I’ve been reminded day in and day out that I am in the minority, apparently. The condition people bring their information in astounds me sometimes. I had one today that had important information printed on the back of an old email, and other information front-and-back, crooked on one side and upside down on the other.
Now I will admit, there are some that make me smile. Specifically cases where its new parents and their paperwork may have crayon scribbles. THOSE make me smile and chuckle.
But seriously. Much like how we dress can portray how professional we are, our paperwork left at a professional’s office is a representation of who we are as professionals ourselves. I don’t expect people to be as, “OMG I have to lay all this out perfectly and make sure its all perfect” as I am with things. I gotta say, there are times I probably take it a big far. But I DO wish people would step back and think, “Would I want someone to hand this to me and expect me to decipher it?” It’s that easy. “Good enough,” just might not be. “This represents me,” however, is.