I saw an interesting factoid in USA Today on March 6, taken from a survey of 1,200 working adults 18 and older about the value of membership in business associations.
First, the median income of members was $77,397 vs. $52,585 for people who were not members of any business association.
Second, 74% of people who said they are members of an association said they are satisfied with their job, as compared to 50% for non-members. I think this may be the most interesting finding.
Why would this be? My take is that when you are a member of an association of peers, you feel more connected and you feel you are taking skills and ideas back to your job you can use. This adds value to your career and affects your overall outlook on your job.
Certainly, you can hear people at association meetings complain about their jobs. In fact, one of the big reasons for belonging is that you can find a new job easier.
As an example of the value of associations, in my last posting I discussed the presentation at the meeting last week of the Red Earth QA SIG here in Oklahoma City. We had a good sized group there and people had a great time visiting with each other, and we learned about starting a testing center of excellence - plus some great sandwiches from Jason's Deli.
Attention managers!! If you want free or inexpensive training, check out your local QA chapter. If you don't have one, think about starting one. That's what we did in OKC over a year ago. It's not always easy, but it's not impossible, either.
I'm toying with the idea of starting an online software QA and Testing community (at "at-large" group) with a teleconference meeting monthly for people who live in places where there isn't enough interest to get a small group together. Post a comment or e-mail me if you are interested.
Finally, I'll just say that my very first association membership at the Kansas City QA Association (KCQAA) was where I learned a lot about software QA and testing, but it was also where I connected with many other people and associations (QAI, Bill Perry, Jim Brunk and many others.) I would not be where I am today had I not took two hours a month out of my evenings and attended KCQAA meetings. I'm a believer!