Is there any point to joining professional organizations? I see the point to the APA in that they're the source of job postings, but what about things like the International [Plato/Kant/Wittgenstein/Whoever] Society? Does anybody care whether you're a member of such things, or are they just so much C.V. filler? If your dissertation is on Frederick C. Bumfizzle, had you better shell out the 20 bucks a year to join the Frederick C. Bumfizzle Society and prove your devotion to the profession, or is that 20 bucks better spent on alcohol to dull the pain of a crappy job market? Thoughts?I can think of a few reasons that you'd want to join a professional society. Perhaps your dues pay for a journal that puts out good research and you get a subscription by being a member. Or, you need to join the society in order to present at their conference, which is a good one where every one who is anyone in your field will be in attendance. Or (as Three Sickles Short notes) it's the only way to get a poorly organized listing of jobs every once in a while that is sometimes published after the conferences at which interviews could be, and once were, but not anymore, conducted.
But, besides that, I think your money might be better spent on alcohol. I presume being a member of a professional organization that you pay to be a member of (think Who's Who?) doesn't pad your CV in anyway or make you anymore of an attractive candidate, even if the practical reasons noted above make it advisable to join the organization.
Of course, I could be wrong. And people should tell me if I am. After all, I do harbor some deep-seated resentment for one organization in particular (figure it out!). I mean, if you pay dues for a whole year, you should get a whole year of membership in return from the date you paid and you shouldn't have to renew mid-year and pay for a whole 'nother year just so you can submit a paper to a conference you probably won't get in to, but you worked your ass off for regardless. Right?
-- Jaded Dissertator