Re: Is the STC worth it?

Subject: Re: Is the STC worth it?
From: Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
To: "Robart, Kay" <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us>, Mike McCallister <mike -dot- mccallister -at- pkware -dot- com>, "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2014 07:48:42 -0800

With all the back-and-forth stuff going on here, I believe the following:

a. You get what you give. If you go to meetings and the subjectmatter isn't inspiring enough, and you don't either suggest better topics or even serve as a speaker, you'll become disenchanted, drop out and bad-mouth the group, thus turning off others who might have joined and actually turned things around. For instance, I just turned 65 on Halloween (everybody parties on my day and I don't look or act anywhere near that age). At the last Atlanta STC meeting I suggested they cover either as a lone topic or as part of a panel discussion how those in my age category can overcome rampant age discrimination when seeking the next full-time tech pubs position. The response I got was a definite YES, but now they have to find a person (or persons) who have successfully found new tech pubs jobs even a this age. And no, I can't retire.

Because the measly pittance my monthly Social Security disbursement would provide (a crappy result of low-pay writing jobs in the 1970s during THAT Great Recession), and due to my situation with two kids in college (one out-of-state) and a severely damaged IRA due to mismanagement between 1998 and 2005 by one of the giant financial firms, I had to start rebuilding my retirement financial future (using a different financial company) only nine years ago when I was already at age 55 and I can't rely on only contract work. Thus retirement for me is when I simply can't work anymore.


By the way, those of you not yet at age 50 or 55, get ready for age discrimination in hiring. You'll be judged as old, sickly and not worth the risk, even though you'll see much younger coworkers miss many more days of work than you for "mental health" days or just because of a whim, yet no one in HR suspects a thing.


b. The lack of enthusiastic officers and good topics is also a result of burn-out. I belong to several organizations and especially in one of them, it's obvious that those (including myself) who carried the ball throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s just want to kick back, but few if any newcomers seem interested.

c. And this is partly because of the culture and times we live in -- the near total availability of any kind of information and resources and lack of interest by most folks to belong to almost ANY club or organized group, be it hobby or professional.

As for certification and so forth, for every one who values this because it has helped him or her, there's someone else who has no use for it and wants to make sure everyone knows it.

The STC -- and lots of other organizations -- may or may not be on the way out, but slamming the door on it (or them) may discourage newbees who might actually value these groups.



On Thursday, November 6, 2014 10:00 AM, "Robart, Kay" <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us> wrote:


>
>
>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.
>
>Kay
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>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.
>
>Mike McCallister
>
>
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References:
Is the STC worth it?: From: Cardimon, Craig
RE: Is the STC worth it?: From: Mike McCallister
RE: Is the STC worth it?: From: Robart, Kay

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