Defining professionalism…

/ Longster

A few years ago, there were articles floating around about removing the word “Professional” in DPHH. I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring this topic back and express my views. Sometime in 2004 or 2005, a guy sent me email suggesting that I follow the same path that Dallas/Forth Worth took. Before reading my correspondent, I renamed this person to John Doe for his sake of privacy. I’ve also took out the excessive info to get the point.

John Doe wrote:

Dallas DPHH changed to DHH I suggest you all to change too or another name. I have been hearing nothing but negative remarks lately. Also MUST to have bar??

First of all, deaf professional the word itself is almost invalid because to my knowledge professionals don’t have to always drink to establish a professional exposure. The intent of establishing DPHH was to expose the deaf culture, people etc to the city of Houston so they can be more aware with who we, deaf people are…

I just laugh at the word professional you and I can agree that not even 1/8 of attendants are professionals including myself… unless u have a different point of perspective. I am speaking out and trying to make it friendlier for those who desire socialization whatever their conflicts are. I don’t think deaf people can afford to be cliquey since after all, it’s a small world we live in…

Lastly, the committee was kind of hand picked and without government. There isn’t much I could do but suggest you and the committee to reconsider this only because this deaf world we live in is small world. You also speak of employment opportunities…. At a bar?? Hmm just help with me out that I don’t get it….

My response:

Let’s look at the term professional (n). According to the dictionary, it states:
1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation.
3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.

That sums up the definition of professional… It can be something that a person excels in their line of work for years. Nothing more, nothing less.

Ask yourself, have you actually had the chance to meet every single person and learn about their occupation? If you did, then I could surely use your help to increase my network among deaf community. I know I haven’t and I certainly will try my best. Assumption about who they are or what they do is a dangerous act that ought to be set aside.

Based on my experience, approximately 25% of these people are professional and the rest is unknown since I have not met everyone. That’s 1 in 4 chances you’ll meet someone who has that… How cool is that? Granted, exposing deaf culture to hearing society is one of few reasons, but the sole purpose of professionalism is to encourage higher education and better career by sharing/networking one another regardless of anyone’s background.

As for alcohol, we are all adults… Alcohol plays a small role when attracting people where everyone can enjoy and relax. It’s a matter of choice. Even I know people who come to DPHH and socialize without drinking. Bars are a great method to attract and show people around Houston who have yet to discover. In spite of anyone’s drunkenness, it’s their responsibility to take care of themselves. We provide a place and time where adults can mingle, not exactly for families. What happens after that is beyond our control. In the end, we are all mature to make our own decisions…

Our committee is based on volunteers. We took the time, money and effort to establish this event on our own. There are no rules of order since we aren’t an organization. Consider us as a host/hostess to bring the community together. If you are not happy with the way we organize then you can perhaps recommend someone that will contribute in accordance to DPHH guidelines. It isn’t dictatorship. Those who want to help are welcome.

I appreciate your input in regards to name and location, but it isn’t enough to justify the changes you speak of. Consistency is one of the key factors in maintaining a successful event. Certain changes will create confusion and take a lot of our time to make the adjustments if not done correctly. So I asked myself and the committee, is it worth taking the word professional out when DPHH had already taken its recognition all over the United States along few reasons I mentioned?

Since then, I still stand by what I said. The fact is, we shouldn’t lower our standards for anyone. This is not to misunderstand that we separate ourselves from people who doesn’t hold that kind of professionalism. No… What this means EVERYONE at least 21 and up is welcome. It is up to you how you approach and gather information from one another. There’s a pool of opportunities and information that exists beyond your expectation. With this new site up and running, the first step is to establish a central network among deaf communities in Houston. Hopefully everyone who visit here will gain knowledge/confidence they need.

So rise up and challenge yourselves… You’ll be surprised to see how much you’re capable of.

About Longster

Long Duong works as a Web/UI Developer for cPanel in Houston. He is also the founder of ECHODE where he builds his web and designs musings on the side. He is the main guy for building and maintaining the life of Houston Deaf Network website.

9 responses to “Defining professionalism…”

  1. Stacey says:

    Strong argument you have here. If it was not for DPHH, I would not have gone to a social event where I have considered myself a professional and wanted to interact with other professionals. Not often we would get together as we would like to. I want to point something out, have you noticed that we have a lot of varies of deaf clubs and social events where we can always hang out. Why cannot we have DPHH to enjoy ourselves as professional once in awhile? By the way, love your design!

  2. Billy Koch says:

    Actually – I’m probbie going to get flamed for this but honestly as the dictionary statement says – professional is someone who is skilled in an area. And it is always seems to be at a bar. Which its okay – but when you look at pictures at times, you don’t see anything professional about it. Granted hearing people do it too – but they surely don’t post it :p Unless it was their own personal pictures.

    Point being – professional happy hour back was something that would help to enhance and try to improve the visibility of deaf professionals in the working world. But not everyone is into that. 🙂

    Personally what would probbie be better is just have a Houston Deaf Professional Network – this way it wouldn’t be restricted to a bar, or anything like that. 🙂

    So you guys can go ahead and start hating! 😀

  3. Longster says:

    i understand how photos may not appear to be what it is. Not only is it for networking, but it is a place to get together and relax. Perhaps we didn’t do a good job taking pictures or pick a better place to convey that image. I do think pictures are partly dependent on types of bar we chose. Any pictures you see ought to be taken lightly and should be viewed as entertainment.

    I really like your idea with Houston Deaf Professional Network, but for now I want to see how people respond to this site. Who knows, i may take your advice and roll with it in the near future.

  4. Billy Koch says:

    It would be a good and a nice way to do so – and can be utilized as a social community as well. And with this in mind – with the Houston Deaf Professional Network (I wouldn’t necessarily do that – I would probably also look into like Houston Deaf Network) and make that into a media where all kinds of Houston deaf related stuff can be done. I would be more than happy to work along with you on this. We can discuss this further another time 🙂

  5. Maryellen says:

    First off, I wanted to comment on what such a beautiful website you’ve turned this into. You definitely have a knack for this kind of stuff. I’m still waiting for you to finish your personal project!

    Now, on to the point of this post… I have to say I agree with everyone here – John Doe, Long, and Billy. Seeing that everyone has their own opinion and they differ, I think that they all differ with good points.

    Personally, I’ve always had a problem with the term “professional” because frankly, from what I’ve seen – people don’t really behave “professionally.” However, I may have no room to say anything, as I’ve only gone to DPHH three times since it was started. As Long said, it’s also a place to just get together and relax. For that alone, DPHH is obviously the perfect outlet for deaf people to socialize. The DPHH committee gives up their free time to plan the monthly gatherings and whoever shows up (and how they behave) is out of their hands. As John Doe commented, we live in a small world so we cannot afford to be choosey. If DPHH establishes rules on who may attend and such, the crowd will dwindle even further and perhaps DPHH will be no more.

    To further discuss the “professional” in the name, I have noticed that a majority of the people who show up aren’t necessarily professionals. Many are out of work, myself included, and others have “blue collar” jobs. Like Billy, I have to comment on the definition of “professional.” While the definitions posted are valid and accurate, I have to be the one to say that everyone has their own personal opinion on what a professional is. It’s funny – you may meet a man who has worked as a plumber for the past 30 years. He may be regarded as very knowledgeable in the field – but would anyone declare him as a professional? A plumber? How about someone who has worked at Target or Wal-Mart as a cashier for the past 15 years. Is he/she a professional? Typically, “professional” to many people, means a nice-paying office job that has a dress code that prohibits people from showing their butt cracks.

    It may be because of that perspective that people will say “DPHH is nowhere near anything professional.” But people seem to forget – how they dress and behave at work does not have to reflect how they really are on their personal time.

    Now, to comment on one last thing – the location. As Long stated, it’s just simply a place for people to come and enjoy themselves. People can drink or not. It’s their choice what they do once they arrive. I agree with that. I also know people who show up simply to socialize – they don’t drink. However, I want to bring up one final point – does anyone honestly, really think that if DPHH decided to hold gatherings at a park instead of a bar – would anyone show up? If it was BYOB, probably. But if it was a neutral family-friendly place, I can almost guarantee you that there wouldn’t be a good crowd. So – that brings me to my conclusion – people just simply don’t know how to have fun without drinking. So, if it wasn’t for DPHH at bars, DPHH probably wouldn’t have taken off.

    So how about this – balance the scene and have the events at different locations instead of just different bars. That way, it can truly be a networking experience rather than an alcohol-infused version of ASL socials.

  6. Longster says:

    Maryellen, valid argument you have there. However, you’re forgetting that we operate on our own free time. If we were to host a different location instead of a bar such as a park, it then becomes a liability for us. In addition, one of the pre-requisitions for selecting a place is to have at least some form of security in order to protect everyone. For now, it’s for us to learn how things unfold as everyone continues to give feedback. Eventually, things may change as we learn from our mistakes.

  7. Julie Reese says:

    Hahaha, I was the hostess at the time of DPHH-DFW and agreed to drop the “P”… Didn’t expect this to become such a hot debate. hee hee…. At least we are very fortunate to have a monthly event to go each month…. If it was not for your DPHH, I would have never set up DPHH-DFW in D/FW… so many thanks to you, Long!!!!!! I am happy that the organization (regardless of the name) is still thriving nowadays!

    Great website, Long!!!!!!! Thank you for all the work you do for DPHH!!!! 🙂

  8. Chris Dunkle says:

    Back in late 2003 or early 2004, before DPHH Houston was formed, I was asked to meet with Tom and Jason. They wanted to propose their idea and needed my help to start Deaf Professional Happy Hour in Houston. When I first heard about it, I thought to myself this would be a great way to meet with deaf lawyers, doctors, and whatever that required to wear a suit and tie at their workplace. While we were taking notes, brainstorming some ideas, in the back of my mind I wondered if there will be enough deaf professionals to keep DPHH alive and kicking. I figured most of them are too busy to mingle with other deafies during their free time. I know how busy deaf professionals are. There were doubts based on what I’ve seen how professionals live, but I didn’t hesitate or give up; I decided to use my time to help them out anyway.

    For DPHH…
    The night when we “cut the ribbon” at Sam’s Boat was October 2004, (I think, I am not good at remembering dates). It was a huge success! Deafies from all over were there! There were so many new faces out there and I believe that was the biggest number of deafies for DPHH in Houston ever. But there was one thing that was bothering me, where are the deaf lawyers or doctors and such? I asked myself, “Was it a misunderstanding?” Did we advertise to the wrong people? Later I looked around and realized maybe some of those girls are looking for a deaf guy who is a professional or vice versa? Maybe there were deaf college students were here to meet with deaf professional for advice? Maybe those who are out of job may want to meet with deaf professionals to gain networks? It could be anything. That night, the word “professional” did not matter to me as long everyone had a good time.

    For DHH…
    Like I said before, professional or not, it does not matter. But then again, I can understand what John Doe was implying. Lets say there’s Deaf Doctors Happy Hour. Without having to think twice, I wouldn’t show up there. But if I happened to find out there’s all kind of deaf people excluding deaf doctors mingling at a bar for Deaf Doctors Happy Hour, then I’d say something was not right. I would ask why couldn’t they take the word “Doctors” out and make it to DHH. That would even make sense and open up a bit more for everyone. Especially for those who may not have heard about it would clearly understand who are welcome.

    I know some people have pride with the title, will stand up for it and leave it the way it is. I know some people would change it to make everyone happy. But ask yourself this, why is the title so important? Is it worth fighting for? Save your energy to fight for a good cause and let everyone enjoy what he or she like to do. I can see both point of views and I agree with both sides. But that’s not important to me. It’s just a name or a title. Big Deal!

  9. Longster says:

    DPHH was specifically designed to target people who profess their line of work, but not limited to them. This isn’t only for entertainment, but promote certain vision of higher education, career networking, advice and so on. Taking out the word Professional would certainly diminish the purpose of what we’re trying to do.

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