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February 09, 2005

More on "how does it feel?"

Continuing to answer Jeff DeCagna's question on how does it feel to have passed the CAE exam: I've been thinking a lot about this lately.

Slowly, over the course of preparing for, taking, and receiving the results of the CAE exam, the association management profession has become even more personal to me. I always felt like I had been accepted into the association community, even from the first days in my new career. But going through a certification experience like this has cemented my devotion to the profession. If this were a poker game, I'd be all-in. As a result, I have found myself more interested in staying up to date on legislation and regulations affecting nonprofits, reading articles, blogs and interviews with leaders in the association community, and networking with other association professionals. I also find myself more willing and emboldened to give advice to co-workers and colleagues. I feel like I have a little more ownership of, and responsibility to, my profession.

Jeff asked if the change in my view of the association profession was due to the knowledge I acquired, or if the change was due to something more intangible. I'd have to say it is the latter. Sociologists have written at length about fictive kinship, in which unrelated people develop familial relationships because of some stimulus or event. I think that applies to my experience with the CAE exam. It is the trial of going through the exam that has most affected my view of the association community. It's a hackneyed -- and increasingly trite -- phrase, but it rings true in my case: "It's not the destination, it's the journey."

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