Friday, November 21, 2008

Cell Phones and Professionalism

Unless you work for a cellular service provider, it is almost never acceptable to take calls during a meeting, training, class or discussion with another. This includes allowing your phone to buzz away endlessly as a persistent caller tries to reach you during such a professional event. Most schools, colleges and universities included, ban cell phone use in the classroom to prevent cheating and to make sure students are paying attention in class.

Penalties for Mobile Phone Use in Education and Business
  • If you're in public k-12 education, the phone can be confiscated. One district I used to work for required offenders' parents to come in and collect the phone and repeated offenders could be given in-school suspension.
  • If you're in college, you can be barred from the rest of the class, and sent home for disruption.
  • In any academic setting, if you're texting or taking calls during and exam, you can be charged with cheating and expelled.
  • One networking group I belong to charges members fees if their phones go off during a presentation ($1 if it rings or buzzes, and $5 if you take the call).

The crux of the matter is this: cell phones are not appropriate in all situations. Know that unless you have express permission to use them in business or academic settings, you will face consequences, even if the only repurcussion to be thought of as an absolutely rude person.

Remember: The perceptions others have of your seriousness and professionalism can hurt your career beyond repair.

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