Thursday, August 6, 2009

5 Reasons to Ditch Your Professional Organization

I've spent the week thinking about professional organizations. If you missed it the first time around, take a look at Are Professional Organizations Old School? and 5 Reasons to Join a Professional Organization. Everything seems to come packaged as a trilogy these days (even Fast & the Furious movies), so here's part 3 in the series...

5 Reasons to Ditch Your Professional Organization

1. You're Bored: If you are not engaged in what is going on, then get out. It would likely be better for you to visit a favorite spot, or to spend some time reading a great book, than frowning at the members of an organization you are not excited about.

2. Stagnant: It's the same 15 people every meeting, and you can't stand 14 of them.

3. Zero return: I'm not suggesting you look at every activity of your life in this results-only mode, but you should evaluate how you are spending your time. Most professionals complain about how they don't have enough time. If you can think of something that is much better for you professionally than attending another meeting of Brand X Organization, then move on.

4. The Pinch: In some way, every family/individual or company is feeling a pinch of the current economic situation. Most professional organizations are not cheap. There's typically an annual membership and then related costs like meals, transportation to get there, etc. It might simply be too expensive to play along right now.

5. It's for My Resume: Professional organizations are nice additions to an already great resume, but I'd hedge it will likely not be the single thing that sways a hiring manager. This can even work against you. I have spoken to several managers who will turn a critical eye to job candidates who seem to spend most of their time on professional organizations. It begs the question, "How much real work did they have time for?"

That closes out the week. Feel free to comment, sneer, etc., below.

Photo Gracias: Flickr user Chad Horwedel


Jeff Hurt said...

Wow, you just summarized what all nonprofit associations must face in the future. Either those professional associations have to provide more value for the membership dollars or risk becoming obsolete.

I'll add a sixth one.
It's become an engery sucker and drain on your resources instead of increasing your resources and providing immediate return.

Julius said...

I would add a seventh:

Online Groups are becoming a great substitute of association and currently having events and creating chapters.

Maggie McGary said...

Love this post--especially #2. This is one nonprofit associations need to be cognizant of, in my opinion, especially with regards to volunteer leadership. Yes it's easier to have the same people at the big tables, but for the members who want a seat at those tables and can't get one for the life of them, they will eventually become discouraged and give up trying and that could spell trouble.

Dave Nielsen said...

I really appreciate a frank post about this coming from someone trusted. In the past, it has seemed like any time this topic came up, many are quick to call "quitter" or argue that people striving to move forward should also spend time helping everyone else to move forward.

I'm guessing the balance between dragging others to the future and running toward it yourself is something that's learned with time -- I'm still struggling.