Leadership

Editor's Note: Path to a Career

By / Aug 1, 2013

Find your job difficult to explain at cocktail parties? Well, this issue is for you.

Have you had the cocktail party conversation where, in response to a question about what you do for a living, you say that you work at an association? Did you get the polite smile combined with the puzzled look?

I have. (Try explaining that you work for the association for people who work for associations. The meta-ness of that statement either stumps or thoroughly amuses them.) So I usually start with the journalism part of my job and then go on to describe that I’m also an association professional—although I had no plan to land here when I set out on my career many years ago.

I share that in common with many of the association pros I’ve met along the way. Most came into associations because an unexpected opportunity arose or they were drawn to a cause that an association stood for. But they ended up staying because they loved the mission or the people or the work. If they’re lucky, like me, they loved all three. And then association management became a career.

So, association professionals, no matter how you came by that label, this issue is for you. Are you just getting started? Do you aspire to the C-suite? Are you curious about bread-and-butter issues like compensation in the association sector?

Then make this issue your beach reading or (even better) flip through the pages on your flight to Atlanta to meet your colleagues at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo this month.

There will be plenty of cocktail parties there, and I guarantee you won’t have to explain your job to anyone.

Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is the Editor-in-Chief of Associations Now. More »

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