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I agree with Mike. I have not been an STC member for a few years, but I am towards the end of my career.
I was an active member for years. Many of my jobs came as a result of contacts made through membership. At the beginning of my career as a lone writer, I picked up much of my job training from STC professional development activities and conferences.
Just paying your membership dues without participating is not going to get you much from any professional organization.
From: techwr-l-bounces+kay -dot- robart=tea -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kay -dot- robart=tea -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Mike McCallister
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2014 8:47 AM
To: Cardimon, Craig; 'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'
Subject: RE: Is the STC worth it?
I've been an STC member since I joined the profession in 2000. I've been fortunate that my employer always paid for my membership (and my employer was "me" for only one year in that time frame). I'm part of STC for a variety of reasons, and am likely to stay in STC as long as I'm part of the profession for those same reasons. They include:
* Professionals need professional organizations. If for no other reason than professional development. As long as tech writers/communicators continue to complain about co-workers lacking respect for what we do, we need an organization that will fight for respect (STC doesn't do enough of that, IMHO, but that's a result of me being in a minority in the organization).
* Professional development: Example: I've learned nearly everything I know about DITA by way of STC. I've learned a bit of content strategy too. This is, in part, because I've always been lucky to be part of a geographic chapter. Folks have mentioned that.
* Speaking opportunities: Once you learn things, you get the chance to tell other people what you've learned. I'm a better speaker/presenter for my periodic appearances at STC meetings
* Leadership opportunities: Once I came to Milwaukee, I got roped in early as a volunteer, then council member, and I've been in nearly every role the chapter offers. I've gotten better at working in teams as a result.
* I do think my STC membership has been a factor in my getting my last two jobs, which is why it's been easy to persuade management to pay the dues. They think it's worth it!
STC is far from perfect. Are the $59 STC webinars more valuable than Scott Abel's free webinars? No, but it was cool when Scott came to our STC chapter for a meeting and workshop. Are the publications (Intercom and the journal) valuable? Well, when I read them, I usually pick up something I didn't know before.
All of that aside, STC is a membership organization: if you're not active in it, you really don't get the benefit of it. Maybe this is me, but the only "organization" that I've ever paid dues to based on the "stuff" I get from it in exchange for my check is the American Automobile Association. I know that if I really want STC to get better, I have to get MORE involved, not quit.
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