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Off With Their Heads: A Tale of Two STCs
2003, Q4 (June 05, 2008)
Tags stc
By Anneliese Kellner, Secretary, STC Carolina

If you have not yet perused the STC Transformation blog, available at http://trans4mation.typepad.com/, I highly recommend that you do. It is a real eye popper. It appears that the STC chapters are, to put it mildly, a bit peeved with the STC board.

Not too long ago, you should have received a short e-mail from the national STC organization introducing its Transformation Team, and their blog. A blog, or a weblog, is a form of online writing characterized in format by a single column of chronological text, usually with a sidebar, and by frequently updates.

The goal of the STC transformation team is to:
  • Increase the breadth, relevance and value of services delivered to members.
  • Create a long-term platform for financial stability
  • Promote membership growth
  • Enable STC to be a leader and advocate for the Technical Communication professions and their practitioners.

My favorite post on the blog comes from a moderator who goes by the name “Permalink.” Permalink’s role is to offer up a consolidation of the transformation board’s thoughts, so that she is in essence, speaking for the Transformation board.

Permalink had a difficult time explaining the basic supply and demand economic metrics now affecting STC at the national and local level, noting that it is “…a topic that’s very hard to talk about.”

To explain the economic reason that local chapters aren’t getting as much refund money from member dues, she offers us A tale of two finances. This reads as a fairy tale, describing how the “royal court” (STC board) shared the “fruits of the kingdom” (STC) with the “households of the land” (local STC chapters) during the fruitful, flush years (late 90s). Now that the drought has come, the households come knocking at the “royal castle”, looking for their handout, alas there is little to be given.

You see, we as local chapters have, Permalink notes, “…stopped, and indeed forgotten how, to raise [our] own crops.”


One can only imagine the naïveté of the Transformation board in allowing this post to represent the economic relationship between STC national and local. In today’s world of Enron, WorldCom and $6000 shower curtains, analogizing the national chapter with royalty invites them to take it on the chin.

And they did.

“This tale really does gall me. If my association leadership views itself as “the royals,” then it’s perhaps time I looked for another source of professional development and enrichment,” responded Frank Tagader.

“I’ll skip using inflammatory rhetoric here, but I can sense that some members are angry. The fairy tale you relate sends the wrong message altogether.” noted Harold Hofstad.

“I say it’s time for the peasants to take to the streets with torches and pitchforks, put up the barricades, storm the Bastille, sharpen up the guillotine, and start calling for the heads of the aristocracy,” wrote Mark van Wyk.

Brian Martin fired a direct hit in his parting shot: “Bye [sic] the way: If corporate America lays off workers when the chips are down, then so should we. This is NOT a decision to be taken after 3 years. If you need to do it, do it quickly after reviewing which services are indispensable and which are not.”

On further consideration, maybe Permalink used the right analogy; after all, it does support the growing conclusion that we may have two STCs: one kingdom, divided by the share of the dues you pay.

Blog your thoughts here: http://trans4mation.typepad.com/stc_transformation/. Click on “A tale of two finances.”

Anneliese Kellner can be reached at akatina at intrex dot net. End of article.

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