A mentor who advised me early in my career counseled me to always embrace unfamiliar work. At the time, that meant editing cover letters and resumes for his clients during the week and painting picnic tables in his backyard on weekends (both for the same generous wage). At the time, I was grateful for the extra money and today, I’m grateful for the example he set.
The value in any unusual assignment — besides a sense of accomplishment — comes from adapting to a challenge that is unfamiliar. All work has a mental component, and efforts performed outside of one’s core competence are especially enriching, because they test us in expected ways.
Membership in a professional society offers many occasions to sample work that is different. From leadership opportunities to producing events and organizing groups of volunteers, organizations like PRSA offer plenty of ready exits from our career comfort zones.
So if you want to make more of your membership, I encourage you to experiment outside your expertise. Join a PRSA-LA committee or offer to host an upcoming event at your facility. Enroll in a PRSA webinar (many are free) covering a subject you’ve avoided. Join a PRSA interest section outside your direct career specialty. Or partner with a local nonprofit in applying for a Don Perkins Community Service Grant.
Or maybe just pick up a power sander and paint brush and fix some outdoor furniture.
You never know what unexpected insights await.