I am a frontend developer. I’m also a civil servant.
I’ve occassionally had some people levy accusations that I cannot possibly fulfil my role as a civil servant professionally because of many of the other factors listed on this website: that I’m a furry, that I’m plural, or that I don’t identify as human and use unusual pronouns.
To read between the lines, they deem it unprofessional that I do not hide any of these facts.
Thankfully, these comments have always been rare and always from random strangers who know little about me except for what modicum of my content they have opted to scan through.
But the implication in their words is that you can only be a ‘professional’ if you put on a suit and tie every day, don’t be weird, and don’t rock the boat. I, obviously, disagree.
Professionalism is about competence, skill, and personal conduct.
Professionalism has nothing to do with who you are, what you enjoy, or how you choose to present yourself to the world.
I am exceptionally good at what I do. That may sound big-headed, but it’s a complement I’ve received enough times from my colleagues and clients to believe it’s true enough.
When it comes to my work, the output speaks for itself, and that matters far more than anything else I have going on when it comes to how competent and skilled I am at my job.
So to those people, in my professional opinion: screw you.
Entirely coincidentally, Soatok, an expert in the security and cryptography space (and also a furry) wrote about almost exactly the same thing the same day I chose to publish this. Give that one a read too.