In my first profession ( Open wide…) I never actually encountered the term ” Professional Discourtesy “. I did come across the occasional reference to ” Professional Misconduct ” but apparently nowadays the things that you used to get struck off for – Alcoholism, Adultery, and Advertising – do not attract the opprobrium that they once did. At least not if you write your own advertising.
Nevertheless, the ” Professional Discourtesy ” line apparently applies to people in the legal profession as well as to the sales professions that deal with a sufficiently large amount of money. Because I think that it is the quantifiable offence rather than the moral one that raises the alarm.
I’m at a loss to know precisely what is discourteous between lawyers. If it is the enticing of clients from one practice to another, then why do they pay for a great deal of media advertising? If it is telling tales about the opposition…well I am led to believe this is a standard tactic used against either a plaintiff or a defendant in a courtroom to sway a magistrate or jury. If they can blacken the character of their clients, why can they not do so to their opponents?
I am even more at sea when I comes to professional discourtesy in the photographic business – largely because there seems to be such a thin rind of profession and so much pulp of business. I am just grateful when I can avoid the seeds…
Is it discourteous to offer a lower price for the portrait/pack shot/Father Christmas wallet-size to a client? If so, where is the justification for the flyer in the mail box and the advertisement in the AIPP trade journal? Is it discourteous to enquire of other’s business at a trade conference? Well, Hello Silence…Is it discourteous to respond to a request for professional communication by perfunctory agreement and then stony silence? The cure for that is simple – silence is contagious and if you freeze someone out you must not be surprised if they go away.
Real discourtesy – professional defamation or worse – is easily addressed within a business or through the court system. So few cases are ever reported in the trade that I wonder whether it can be really said to exist.