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Benefits Too Great to Miss
2005, Q1 (February 19, 2007)
By Diane Feldman

I had a problem. I had been thinking about writing an article describing the benefits I have gotten from over ten years of active participation in STC. I was having trouble choosing a focus for the article. STC has enriched both my career and my personal life in so many ways. It was difficult to know where to start. Should I describe how it’s given me stronger and more varied technical skills? How it has contributed to my professional development? Offered innumerable opportunities to network? Led me to books, web sites, and other oft-used resources? Given me job leads? Allowed me to meet unforgettable characters? Provided moments of triumph, laughs at conferences, precious friendships? You see my problem.

While I was mulling this, a couple of professional opportunities came up for which I needed references. One of them required a job interview. The employer, a university press, did not ask for references at the interview stage. Nonetheless, my good friend and STC cohort Lottie Applewhite offered to write a letter for me to take along to the interview. Lottie’s letter specifically detailed all of my qualifications for the job and tactfully advised the recipients that it would be foolish to pass me by.

About the same time, a friend and I submitted a proposal for the training program that STC will be initiating this fall. Because this is a new venture for the Society and because they are planning to pay the trainers more than a token stipend, the program staff requested references. I turned to STC cohorts Ann-Marie Grissino, Frances Wirth, and Terry Smith. They responded immediately with recommendations so glowing they made me blush!

At that point it occurred to me that the generous words of these friends and colleagues were but one example of the benefits of my STC involvement. My friends were able to provide specific, detailed recommendations based on work that we have done together on STC projects. In both cases, the recommendations I got had a special quality that I don’t think a reference from a coworker or supervisor would have. The STC projects we support are not things we have to do for our jobs; they are things we get involved because we choose to. Because the work is “above and beyond the call of duty,” so is the praise.

So my problem for an article was solved, and I’ll close it with a suggestion: To get the most out of your STC membership—take action. Join a committee, write an article for the newsletter, go to a workshop, volunteer for the chapter conference. Opportunities abound for as little or as much involvement as you can handle. You’ll find that the more you do, the more you’ll want to do—the benefits are just too great to miss!

Diane Feldman is a past president of STC Carolina. She can be reached at diane at authorcraft dot net. End of article.

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