Re: Cost of Professional Memberships and Overdone Metaphors

Subject: Re: Cost of Professional Memberships and Overdone Metaphors
From: John Posada <jposada -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 19:45:06 -0500

>You're losing some depth in this discussion. Try this set of binoculars. ;-)

>> Which is by intention. The original point was the cost compared to a
personal budget. A Lexus is cheaper than a Rolls Royce, but that
doesn't much matter if a person is on a Toyota budget. Does it?<<

I promised myself that I wouldn't get involved in this discussion, but,
well...you know what they say about promises...

STC membership is what...$90 per year? Sorry, but that's $7.50 per month...or
two beers ( I drink Bass Ale) per month. At that rate, I don't consider cost a
factor in the should I/shouldn't I equation.

Therefore, joining or not joining should simply be an issue of would it help me
professionally regardless of the cost. After all, there are thousands of
associations out there, but I'd venture to say that a $10 per year needlepoint
association membership wouldn't do me much good.

I happen to believe in participating in the professional associations that are
a part of whatever field I happen to be in at any particular time. Right now,
I'm a tech writer, and therefore, belong to STC and APMP. When I was in the
microfilm/ records management/optical disk field, I belonged to (and help
positions in) AIIM and ARMA. Oh, by the way...I pay for my memberships and
meeting fees, they are not expensed or company reimbursed.

Now, to get the full benefit of that membership, I believe that you get out
what you put in. It reminds me of the people out there that claim that the
Internet is full of useless information, porno and direct mail. The Internet
is like a library. If you show up at the door and wait for the information to
be thrust at you, you will walk away thinking that there is nothing in the
library of any use. It's the same with the Internet, and it's the same with
professional associations. If you think that because you send in your
membership dollars, that your mailbox is going to be crammed full of benefits,
your phone will ring off the wall with job offers/information to make you
smarter/richer/ better looking and your email mail account is going to threaten
to disconnect you because of all the information that is flooding into your
box, then you are correct...you will receive zilch benefits.

However, if you DO get involved, you will notice that you will hear of things
going on in your field just alitlle bit before some others do. You will have an
additional source of information to help you out of situations that you find
yourself in. If you are looking for a job, you will have another source of
information that some of the people also without jobs don't have. You will
notice who is talking to who and which shops seem to talking to which writers,
even though "they don't have open positions."

I for one, have received leads to jobs that came precisely from attending an
association meeting...and one of them was the second-largest contract that my
company had received to that point in it's history ($512,000 per year for three
years). By volunteering for a position as newsletter editor, I became much
more proficient in DTP applications, as well as the direct mail process and the
off-set printing process. I'm currently employment manager for the local STC
chapter. It costs me about 5-10 hours per week. The benefit is that I'm known
personally by a dozen or more shops, with prior notification of perhaps a
hundred available positions per week 1-3 days before others know about them. I
happen to think my shop is the best one out there and should this contract end,
will give them every opportunity to find me a position before putting myself on
the block. However, if they come to me and tell me, "Sorry, dude...but we just
don't have a place for you now.", then I believe that my contacts will bear
fruit.

Personally, based on the benefit that I've received from almost 18 years of
association participation, I can't imaging not belonging, and to tell the
truth, if and when I'm in a position to hire or evaluate applicants, listing
participation in professional associations on a resume is a major plus because
I know the type of information available through participation and I want that
information to come to me and my company, through my employees, instead of my
competition.


>>I am only defending the view of the cost of membership fitting a
personal budget. A person's choice to join or not to join does not
indicate in any manner their level of professionalism (or lack thereof).
I object to the snide comments and innuendoes that it does. In fact,
reading these comments makes me wonder if the people making them are on
a drive to scare or humiliate people into joining. If, so it's one heck
of an approach. Wouldn't you say?<<

I do see it as a level of professionalism, and I'm not being snide about it. I
consider association participation as education and continuing their education
is what professionals do. In fact, if I'm a customer or an employer, and I'm
using a contractor or an employee, then I want them to participate in
associations because they WILL learn something, and maybe they can apply that
knowledge to the work they are doing for me.

John Posada
Central NJ Employment Manager - Technical Proposal Writer
STC - Bellcore
http://stc.org/region2/njc/ - (908) 699-5839

jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com (work)
http://www.bellcore.com (work)

jposada -at- injersey -dot- com (personal)
http://nj5.injersey.com/~jposada (personal)

"If you give a person a fish, they'll fish for a day. But if you train a
person to fish, they'll fish for a lifetime."
Vice President Dan Quayle 10/13/92
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