I have decided to use this post as a reflection on why I haven’t joined CILIP (sorry!).
Firstly, I just want to say it’s not because I don’t think professional organisations are worthwhile. I think they are, and I am happy to be a part of them (I am a member of SLA Europe).
My main reason is far more practical… Money.
As a Graduate Trainee last year, I was in no way earning nearly enough to be living in Oxford. I was lucky enough that my boyfriend moved to Oxford just before me, so we shared a flat. Even splitting the rent between two meant I rarely had much left over at the end of the month. Paying for CILIP membership, even at student rates (which you can do as a trainee apparently), sadly wasn’t really my priority with my disposable income.
Right now, it’s a similar situation. I am extremely grateful in that I was awarded funding for my Masters, but I have to spend a lot on train tickets to see the boyfriend in Oxford (train travel is so overpriced, damn you privatisation!). Again, CILIP isn’t really a priority; though I must add I have thought about joining many times, and hope to join when I am working full-time.
That being said, I haven’t really thought it through. If I had joined in September 2010, I would have paid student rates and would have already been a member for nearly two years. As it is, I will now have to join, if I wait til I’m in full-time employment, a much higher rate.
I feel the jump in membership fees between student rates and the other categories is huge. This is hard for those of us just starting out, potentially not earning that much. You can see the membership fees here.
Maybe somewhere under there, subconsciously, I feel it’s not value for money. But I can figure that out when I join!