Associations: A Lifeline for Lab Professionals
We can all agree that we have at least one thing in common and that is our professional association in laboratory science. As professionals, we must remain in the mainstream of our beloved field. One of the best ways to remain connected is to join a professional association or organization. They can enhance professional development and provide endless networking opportunities. They publish journals, newsletters, and websites with invaluable and up-to-date information. In addition, most of them offer annual meetings full of opportunities of professional development, networking and trade shows.
If you have not joined a professional organization yet, please do so immediately. If you are a member, please be active and volunteer in a committee or a task force and make your voice heard. However, do not get frustrated so easily if things did not go your way from the beginning.
When people share a common interest (like joining a professional organization), there are often wide discrepancies in the return expectation for each. Some people do nothing at all, others make only small token contributions, while a third group (a smaller group) contributes substantial amounts of time and effort.
Why are some people willing to make some real commitment of their time to a cause, while others give only token support or lip service? Are those who make the larger commitments simply those who are more interested in the greater good? Do they have a lot of spare time on their hands, looking for a way to avoid boredom? I do not think so!
People who get involved in constituencies often experience frustration when they try to get others involved. Dedicated people are frequently under-rewarded workhorses who provide collective benefits for their often unappreciative constituencies. Why do we do it then? It is simply because we believe we can make a noticeable difference in our lives.
We do it because we care about our profession. We do it hoping someone will carry the torch. Optimism is contagious, just like pessimism. We must remain optimistic about the outcome of our work. The hard work will eventually be recognized. It may take a few weeks or months to collect the fruits of the hard work. Be patient but be determined and focused.