seems to perfectly match a subset of the tag wiki excerpt description of .

Professionalism affects how others perceive you, whether they be your coworkers, managers or clients. When not acting in a professional manner, you may lose credibility, opportunities for advancement or even your job.

I could say the exact same thing about Etiquette in the workplace. (Nevermind it being sort of an obvious description)

Is there anything different between these tags or should they be synonmized? If there is a difference, the tag wiki for Etiquette should explain when to use it to differentiate it from Professionalism.

2 Answers 2


I believe the two words mean different things, and therefore the two tags should refer to different situations.

If I take my boss Lisa out to a fancy dinner when I know that bonus time is about to roll around, we will probably both employ correct etiquette in that we will chat pleasantly and put our napkins in our laps and eat with forks and knives. By taking her to a fancy dinner with the expectation that it will benefit me come bonus time, I am still behaving unprofessionally.

If my coworker Alejandro simply will not stop putting empty cartons of half and half back in the office fridge, he is breaching office etiquette. If I choose to confront him about this infraction by throwing an empty carton of half and half at his head while he is meeting with his biggest client, I am not behaving professionally.

Here are some suggestions for updated tag wikis for each of these concepts, just off the top of my head - feel free to edit or scrap:


Office etiquette covers the details of working day-to-day in a shared space with other people. Your office-mates may not work on the same projects as you, or even for the same company. Etiquette enables many people to occupy the same space day after day regardless of each person's company, department, or job function.


Professionalism has to do with conforming to the technical or ethical standards of your profession. It is related to your specific job function, industry, or company, and to the future prospects for your career. When not acting in a professional manner, you may lose credibility, opportunities for advancement, or even your position.

  • Would you mind suggesting a tag wiki excerpt for etiquette that you feel captures office etiquette then?
    – Rarity
    Apr 11, 2012 at 20:54
  • @Rarity I added some suggestions to the answer - feel free to critique/steal/change
    – hairboat
    Apr 11, 2012 at 21:10
  • 1
    +1 This sounds correct and reasonable. I first added the 'etiquette' tag to mean, essentially, office etiquette to denote how you work with others in your workplace. The word 'professionalism' sounds more like how you conduct yourself outwardly in the execution of your profession and dealing with clients and the general public. Apr 12, 2012 at 16:41

I don't think so. I have in mind a software developer who delivers quality code on time: professional. But ask him to eat with a fork and knife and he's lost: etiquette.

In many cases it will be a subset, but not always.

  • 1
    These questions have been (understandably) about workplace ettique. Not eating with a knife and fork isn't on topic for the site, is there any on topic situation where these are distinct?
    – Rarity
    Apr 11, 2012 at 19:14
  • There are also tag aliases, if it can't be found to be distinct.
    – jefflunt
    Apr 11, 2012 at 19:20
  • @Rarity - actually, I think it is on topic. If you have lunch with your boss but don't know basic etiquette rules, that may count against you. Same as if you don't remember to thank people. Apr 11, 2012 at 19:24
  • In many cases good etiquette is a way of demonstrating professionalism. @Rarity And since we generally take at least one meal during working ours eating etiquette at work could be on topic and not about professionalism. Apr 11, 2012 at 19:28
  • @Chad I don't know if I agree, sounds like the classic "as a programmer" problem on Programmers. "How do I eat lunch... in the workplace ?"
    – Rarity
    Apr 11, 2012 at 19:33
  • 1
    @rarity - I eat lunch at my desk, in the lunch room at work, or at a work function, on an interview... just off the top of my head. Apr 11, 2012 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Chad the problem is not that you do it at work, but rather do you need an expert in workplace matters to answer? It's the same problem Programmers had, they decided that just because a programmer does X at their workplace doesn't make it a Programmers question.
    – Rarity
    Apr 11, 2012 at 19:58
  • 1
    @Rarity this SE is designed for that subset of question though specifically. Questions about the workplace and the things you do that are not really a part of your specific job function. Apr 12, 2012 at 16:27
  • @Chad Proving a point
    – Rarity
    Apr 13, 2012 at 21:05
  • @Rarity - The addiction is an all the time problem. I think this question worded differently could have been on topic. But you had a solution in your question that you did not want to use. Your problem is you have a caffine addiction you need to kick. Not you have a caffine addiction because you are forced to drink it at work or that you are not allowed to drink it at work. Apr 14, 2012 at 16:19

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