Ivory tower for professionals – good or bad?

I am a member in a portal for professionals where you can post your resume, post a job, bid for a job, ask or answer a question, discuss a topic on a forum etc. Recently I received an e-mail from the site administration saying that due to my “highest credentials and/or experience” I was one of the chosen few who has been selected for a very special new program, with no fee at this time. The purpose of the program was said to be “to identify qualified *** and *** companies (…) and provide them with the option of networking and collaborating in an environment consisting entirely of screened professionals”. The message also asked me to keep all this in secret.

Frankly, I think that as a marketing campaign this is pretty lame. (Note that I am already a paid member of the site, and there is a number of features accessible to paid members only – I am fine with that, because the benefits are clear and tangible.) They don’t even explain how I would benefit from this screening, what would the screening procedure be based on and what prevents me from talking to these same people now when we are all members of the same portal, without entering any kind of secret society. All in all, it looks like an attempt to fish some more money from the site members in exchange for nothing.

But even leaving all this aside, I thought it was an extremely bad idea. Why?

You see, I just don’t see a point of this group. What’s its raison d’etre? To admire each other saying “look, I am great, you are great, look how great we both are”?

A real professional never shuts in an ivory tower with a bunch of likewise high-minded professionals. A real professionalism is about sharing, about helping people to grow. I don’t shy away from someone who knows less than I, but I always try to help them (provided that they don’t expect me to do their work for them), and I hope that another professional better than I will help me some day, likewise. If we start boarding up from people with less knowledge than ourselves, we, as a community of professionals, and we as a society will go nowhere.

What is your opinion? Do you think this offer is cheesy? If it were less cheesy, would you take it? Why or why not?


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