Do I want to belong to any club that would have me as a member?

“He naturally despised the Club that did take him. The members were a poor lot, many of them in the City - stockbrokers, solicitors, auctioneers - what not! Like most men of strong character but not too much originality, old Jolyon set small store by the class to which he belonged.”

John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga

I wasted about an hour or two of my life completing a membership application and then being grilled by 22 people to join a collaborative project. I’m not exaggerating about the 22 people, but I didn’t screenshot the meeting so either you’ll take my word for it or you won’t. I could have taken a nap or scooped litter boxes and be better off in ways both material and emotional.

I decided to withdraw my application for membership. No matter how they voted, I would have been resentful over this process and the failure to adequately prepare me. Resentment does not foster collaboration. Being told I’m not professional and serious enough to join, but maybe they could make an exception because they need my voice? No, that’s not how it works. I don’t need them in order for me to keep doing what I do. I get along fine. People have been telling me how unprofessional I am for 18+ years.

When you invite someone to join your group, you should make sure they are prepared for the process – how long is the application, what is the screening process, are they stretching their rules to admit you, here’s the questions to anticipate, etc. This is where being a community organizer/social worker comes in handy because we learn things like this – the people skills to create collaboration. I guess journalism school is not concerned with those things, but I don’t know because I am not a journalist.

And for that, I am especially grateful today.


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