There Is Nothing Wrong in Being A Generalist.
School fluffs your motivation so you ‘voluntarily’ involve yourself in all their offered activities; irrespective of type or level. The more heterogeneous your resume, the more seasoned of a student you were considered. So you sashayed with your medals and achievements, peppering your vita with vitals because somewhere down the line you were going to be pulling them out from your skill-satchel.
But then you start working and all of a sudden you are obligated to bring all your interests and competences to a boil. Being a generalist becomes synonymous with being unexceptional.
A working professional is now required to be a specialist — that one role or skill where you have achieved licensed-nirvana in. If you are good at several things, you are nondescript but if you are a specialist, you are an asset?
This is just not true.
Being a generalist means you prosper in a variety of environments — exhibiting a robust intensity of bravado and audacity wherever called. Being able to deep-dive into several processes with your extensive array of knowledge, the professional appetite of a generalist has no marginal utility.
Conventional career advice was to find a niche where you can move forward with a consistent profile, within the same cluster of companies. This commodified perception has become a grit grade in in professional development.
“Pick one thing and master it”.
“What role is that? You should have a specialty. Everyone has a specialty.”
“You will be valued more and paid more if you choose just one domain rather than flapping from one to the other.”
Leaders are more often than not, generalists. They come with a high degree of flexibility and credibility. So what’s the fuss about mandatorily having a specialty when you are a great at more than one thing?
A generalist’s diverse accomplishments and proficiency gives them more bargaining power. The catholic continuum of reliabilities means that your expertise and delivery holds no limitations. Generalists are able to demonstrate their talent within diverse spreads.
All of us should continue to whet and wheedle their skills, but skills and specialization are not the same. Add to your skills — all the time, everywhere, with every needle’s eye. But don’t be pressured into choosing a specialization that was never yours to begin with.
Generalists break-away from applying formulaic presumptions to situations. They venture into different settings that are not well-defined at that time. This navigation of uncertainly through a multi-functional experience provides them with a higher leverage.
But this is not about which is better. This is about generalists being just as good.