Thoughts on STC?

At the end of January, search it came time to renew my annual STC dues. If you are a technical communicator, you really ought to consider joining STC — the Society for Technical Communication. I’ve been an STC member since I was in college; I’ve even attended an STC conference in Vancouver a couple of years ago.

When I got my first job after college, I was able to talk my employer into paying my STC dues for me. Now I have a new employer, and I had to convince the VP of Engineering that STC is a valuable organization, worthy of our corporate funds.

I already submitted my ideas and got the funding approved, but I want to ask you technical communicators out there: What value do you find in the Society for Technical Communication? What benefit does STC provide to your employer?

Post your thoughts first, and I’ll add my list later.

2 responses to “Thoughts on STC?”

  1. When I switched jobs, I wasn’t sure if I was going to renew my membership either. After all, it is $150. I also analyzed the relative value. Here’s my list:

    –Intercom, the STC’s magazine, often has useful articles that I enjoy reading.
    –I know many employers look for that STC membership in their applicants.
    –I receive job postings and have access to the STC’s career site.

    Other than that, I really didn’t see a value. I imagine that if I was active in the regional meetings that I would get more out of it, but I’m not at this time.

    What it really came down to, though, was I decided that if I had to pay for it, I wasn’t going to sign up. Most of the things I find valuable would only apply to me if I was currently seeking a job, which I’m not. When you add in the fact that all my previous jobs were found without the use of the STC, I found even less reasons.

    There are many tech writers who think the STC has outlived its usefulness. I disagree with that stance, but at this time in my life and career the STC has limited value to me because I choose not to participate more actively.

    Maybe it’d help if they held meetings closer to home.

  2. I just renewed my subscription as well, mainly because it only cost me half as much (I joined mid-year last year so they applied half of the fee to this year). However I think this is the last year I will be doing it. I enjoy their magazine, but that’s about it. Even though my job isn’t so technical at the moment, I like to have their articles around for future reference. For me, I think IABC is a better choice, just because I work with business writing. I am going to their convention in April in Chicago and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve never been excited about an STC convention.

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