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If You Want to E-volve, You've Got to Get In-volved
1998, March (September 22, 2008)
By Ceil Shuman, a member of the Education and Training Committee

In the February 1998 issue of the Carolina Communiqué, our illustrious Chapter President Mike Uhl urged all of us to get involved in STC activities — more for our own professional benefit than for Chapter enhancement. I am living proof that active involvement and service to our Carolina Chapter results in amazing, almost miraculous benefits. Here is a list of just some of the benefits I have reaped as a result of active involvement in our Chapter:
  • I know what is happening out there in our industry; I am aware of what tools and skills are most sought after today, and I have learned those skills.
  • I have the confidence of knowing that, as long as I stay involved in STC, I will continue to stay current in the skills required by our industry.
  • My income has increased by more than 65 per cent.
  • I have received requests for interviews from recruiters and company managers in our area on the average of twice each week.
  • Several companies all over the country have found my resume on our Chapter Web site and have approached me with attractive career opportunities.
  • People whom I've never met contact me on a regular basis for help and advice; conversations with these people have lead to a dramatic increase in professional contacts.
  • I have the most wonderful, challenging job I've ever had and am earning more money than I ever dreamed possible.
  • I am becoming a visible, known member of the technical writing community here in the Triangle area.
  • I've had the privilege of helping people get jobs and acquire skills.
  • I won an award; this has resulted in increased demand for my services.
  • I have met some of the most wonderful people on Earth; I have amazing new friends who are doing fabulous things with their lives.
  • I am in a position where I can put my stepdaughter through college.

Because of all these rewards, I am a happier, more confident person than I was before I joined STC.

I attribute all of these wonderful realities directly to my activities in the STC. It is surprising how little I have done to reap such powerful benefits:
  • Attended Carolina Chapter meetings on a regular basis, whether or not I thought I was interested in the topic.
  • Joined a committee and attended committee meetings on a regular basis.
  • Attended a workshop in HTML.
  • Started and authored an Education and Training Web page system (this required only two weekend days of my time, and very little maintenance time is necessary).
  • Coordinated, co-authored, and taught an HTML workshop with Candee Hellberg.
  • Entered an online documentation competition.
  • Wrote a few articles for the Carolina Communiqué.
  • Began mentoring an NC State student in documentation design and the advanced features in Microsoft Word.

I did not invest very much time and energy in these activities, yet the return on that investment has been abundant — far beyond my dreams or initial intentions.

Everyone has something that he or she loves to do and can contribute to our Chapter. I encourage every member to think of one skill or activity that he and she enjoys and to apply it in service to our wonderful organization. Write an article for the Carolina Communiqué on your lunch hour some day. Lead a workshop for the Education Committee. Help out with one of the Carolina Chapter Web pages. Attend meetings and share ideas.

You would be surprised by what might take place in your life, just by offering one act of service. As my dear friend and technical consultant, Tim Comstock, always says, "If you don't know what to do next in your career, stick close to your professional organization." That's good advice; and the best way to stay close is to participate.

See you at the next meeting. Be there or be square! End of article.

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