Have you ever shopped around when buying a car or electronic gadget? Sure you have. If you don't have time to shop around for a professional organization equivalent to STC, let me be your guide. After seeing this article about STC costs, I decided to use their idea and write an article tuned to our particular chapter and location with information updates for 2006.
Let's talk about what you want from a professional organization. You want an organization that lets you tailor your print and online newsletters subscriptions. You want to be able to attend meetings for real-life interaction with others who are jazzed about technical writing. You want to customize your membership so that the information you receive is relevant to your current job title, or to that job title that you are striving for.
You want access to tailored job searches and employers who know what technical communication should be. When you’re negotiating that salary either for a new position or an annual raise, you want to use the STC salary survey to compare pay and benefits for your location and job description.
Every once in a while, you want to get specific feedback about your documentation from your peers, or take a look at what other companies are doing, so you either put an entry in the tech pubs competition or you sign up as a judge. You want your group membership to offer you a discount on certain insurance products. You want access to specialized training and conferences that let you interact with leaders in the field while offering conference locations and durations that won’t break your piggy bank.
Deciding what is important to you in a professional society can guide your choice. The next section discusses the costs and describes the types of organizations that are available as an alternative to STC. While they each have their own specialties, none are quite like the STC.
So, how much should you and can you pay for these types of memberships? Whether you're a self-employed contractor, a lone tech writer, or a tech pubs manager looking for the best bang for your buck, you should consider all your options. I trust your conclusion will be to pursue membership in STC, or to convince the check-signers to fund your membership in STC. This table offers a listing of professional associations and the costs as well as what benefits your membership fee affords to you.
Joining STC is as easy as going to www.stc.org/membership/join-or-renew-now and either filling out a printed form or using a secure online application and a credit card. Use this information to guide your decision and get the best value for your investment.