Back when I kept a summer home in Denver, I had two neighbors who bought mountain bikes. They were beautiful bikes. Each had 18 gears, shock absorbers, and were tricked out with all the mountain-bike bling. The bikes were the very image of hip athleticism.
Two years later, I bought one of the bikes for 10 cents on the dollar. It was in pristine condition. I asked my neighbor why he was selling. He said, “It never did anything for me.” I asked him how often he rode it. He replied, “Ride it? You mean I have to put energy into this thing?”
The AAPG is the same as a mountain bike. They are both wonderful vehicles that can take you to exciting places. But you must put energy into them. Call it “participatory effort.”
You have to join AAPG, volunteer for committees, give referred talks and papers, teach classes and chair sessions. Or you are just like my misguided neighbor who thought his cool mountain bike was going to “do something for him” by sitting in the garage.
Let me continue with my bike analogy. The most energy efficient animal on the planet, in terms of miles traveled per unit of energy expended, is the Andean condor. But the mighty Andean condor is a distant second to the energy efficiency of man on a bicycle. A bicycle is an extreme energy-multiplier tool.
The AAPG is an extreme multiplier tool for professional exposure. Tools have to be used to have an effect. They require energy input – participatory effort.
Building Your Brand through AAPG
Messaging is part of AAPG’s problem in recruiting. We often use the word “networking” to describe one benefit of AAPG. But the word “networking” can be grossly misinterpreted as meaning the same as a “social network,” like Facebook or Twitter.
Social networks are advertising platforms where you can highlight your professional bona fides, your resume. But they are notorious for trolling, screeds and snarky literary raspberries. Lots of low-grade stuff.
You cannot “build your brand,” your professional resume, on a superficial advertising platform. You must have a substantiative professional resume behind your superficial advertisements.
To build your brand, and multiply your professional exposure, you must publish referred papers, chair sessions, and give talks at professional societies like the AAPG.
I was a geologist at Southwestern Energy. I got laid off in 2016. The best my professional resume, and professional society exposure, could leverage me into was a job as chief geologist and senior vice president at Goldman Sachs. They called me. I don’t have a Twitter. My Facebook is years out of date.
Other companies have hired me based on my referred, professional society publications. Employers seek out and pay for professional gravitas that gets known by way of professional exposure through a professional society. Professional gravitas comes from the participatory effort put into professional societies.
The AAPG is a tool, a career multiplier, for professional exposure. But it requires members put in participatory energy to get the benefit.
So if you have a friend who is asking, “What will being an AAPG member do for me?”,
I suggest you tell your friend their thinking about AAPG is all wrong. AAPG is not here to “do something for you” any more than a mountain bike will transport you without you doing a lot of peddling. You might also want to tell your friend to check their garage. There might be an unused mountain bike out there.