With the not-so-shocking closing of DEMA after 3 years of struggling, it’s time to re-evaluate networking in our industry.  I believe we need a non-profit or not-for-profit group that defines national guidelines to be executed on a local level.  We should be having monthly or bi-monthly get-togethers that are non-structured and doesn’t allow vendors.  A place for us to drop our guard and allow us to relax, shedding the worries and stressors of the day.  We should be able to be open, and not worried about being judged or feeling like there are vultures (aka vendors) circling.  We should be able to be honest about our daily struggles so that we can be heard and helped with the outrageous issues we face on a daily basis by those who truly understand; like sourcing $2000 worth of duck breasts every month to feed the family dogs.

Some of the guidelines that should be adhered to:

  • No Principal sponsorship or investors.  Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!  A terrible idea that was the beginning of the downfall of DEMA.
  • Principal’s names should never be discussed.
  • Local groups should be in control of their own networking events to cater to the needs of that region.
  • Local leadership should be able to make a little money. After all, volunteers rarely put in the effort that’s truly needed to make these things a success.
  • As mentioned above, no vendors except for quarterly or bi-annual events.
  • A small registration fee ($10) for each event.  We had a terrible issue with no-shows in the Texas market.  It was embarrassing as a chapter President when only 3 out of 20 registered PSPs showed up.  A little money can be a powerful motivator to show or no-show.
  • Meetings should be unstructured, a casual environment to share struggles, find solutions and grow your most valuable resource pool, your fellow PSP.
  • One-day annual or bi-annual conferences/events organized by local chapters.  If you want to travel to meet other professionals across the nation, go for it!  If you don’t have time for when the Dallas event is scheduled, go to the DC event.
  • Get rid of the virtual chapters.  To me, this just seems like false advertising.  “Oh, we have 15 virtual chapters” ……. you mean you don’t have enough local support to get 5-10 people together to have a drink.
  • Vendors should be recommended by your fellow professionals, that’s why you network.  YOU should do your due diligence in screening that vendor instead of relying on a national person who may be motivated by the monetary value of their membership.

What will never work in our industry:

  • Educational standards.  No one can ever agree on this subject, some for good reason, and some are born out of ego.
    • Every job is different.  Every home is different.  What works in one home won’t work in another.  Educate yourself on individual topics that apply to the job you are in and the career you want.
  • While national salary surveys are nice, they are also misleading.  For example, in NY I am a $200k+/year employee.  In Texas, I cap out at around $150k/year.  Why?  Employer perceptions about the market and the value of a professional and the cost of living.
  • Trying to hold the myriad of agencies accountable for these salaries and quality of jobs.  Agencies will do what they want and nothing will change that.  Precise Home Management has rejected clients due to poor working environments or low pay, but there is always another agency out there that will step in and take the Principal’s money.

I have little doubt that there will be another association developed soon.  My hopes are that it is created by someone of a higher ethical standard and with the knowledge needed to make it successful;  longevity will largely be dictated by the good people in this industry.  Regardless of who does it, YOU should responsible for making it happen in your area.  Hold your fellow professionals to a higher standard and show some loyalty to those who do have the industry’s best interest at heart.  Don’t let your ego get in your way and don’t rest on your laurels.  I don’t care what you did 10, 20 or 30 years ago, I want to know what you are doing TODAY to make this industry a better place to work.

So how many of you did I upset with this post?