The Power of - and Path to - Becoming a GeneralistFeatured

charlottefountaine's profile thumbnail
Thanks for this!
lucyhart's profile thumbnail
So nice to read this, thank you Megan. I feel like a lot of the advice out there is about specialising, and I like the idea here that you can specialise around super strength without having to pigeon hole yourself into a role.
joannarutter's profile thumbnail
Yes! I just applied to a job that was looking for "a generalist in the best way". My heart was so happy to read that companies know we exist! But also, that "in the best way" says we have a long ways to go in deconstructing skillset hierarchies imposed on us. What you're nudging up against is the power of skirting the narrow confines of a traditional/masculine/one earner household linear track.That's no small thing. I don't believe we will ever fully escape it under late-stage capitalism, where employers benefit from imposing career constraints as they isolate us from each other into specialist channels and rank us in financially valuable categories that prevent us from, say, building collective worker power and unionizing...but the peek of light between the clouds for us generalists is really encouraging.
DLee1209's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing this. I am absolutely a “Jill-of-all-trades.” About every 2-3yrs, I always pause and think about whether or not I want/need to specialize and I always end up deciding not to. Haha. Last year, I was looking for a chief of staff role in the USK12 education world. Unf the timing didn’t work out for any of those opportunities. So instead, I decided to pursue the ultimate “Jill-of-all-trades” job and took the plunge to launch my own edtech startup and am now the Founder and CEO of my company.
SaraLlinderman's profile thumbnail
Love this; very strongly echos how I view what I want from my career. I've always struggled with that "where do you want to be in..." question -- because I like to let opportunity play an influencing role.
Isabel945's profile thumbnail
This is amazing, thank yoU!
MollieFleury's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for sharing this @MeganWheeler!! I relate so much to everything you shared. The "where do you see yourself in five years" question? The absolute worst. Even ONE year ago, I couldn't have predicted I'd move to Costa Rica and start a new job in the middle of a pandemic. I love personality tests but usually score almost dead in the middle of all traits... which probably shows how adaptable and fit for a generalist I am? 😂The first 5 years of my career were spent in a very large company where being a generalist was actually discouraged. Even though I still did well, it led to very difficult career conversations and was just overall not a great fit. However, I recently started a new job with a company of ~20 and AM SO MUCH HAPPIER. A generalist was exactly what they needed. I don't even care that I'm somewhat drowning in opportunities and things to do haha because it's so fun to continuously learn and apply new skills.I hadn't considered a Chief of Staff position before. I know definitions vary, but is it somewhat similar to a COO role?
MeganWheeler's profile thumbnail
Hi Mollie, sounds like you found the right path for yourself, even if there were struggles along the way. CoS can be like COO - it really depends on the how the company structures the role to fit their needs. Would be happy to chat 1:1 if you want to DM me!
jessbains's profile thumbnail
Wow, Mollie, what a big step to move to Costa Rica for a new job! What is the job? My sister has always wanted to move to Costa Rica.And yes, I score in the middle for all the personality tests too!
MollieFleury's profile thumbnail
Hi Jess! I actually moved to Costa Rica for my husband's job - he's an R&D engineer at Boston Scientific and accepted a 3 year assignment at their manufacturing facility down here. Didn't expect to be quarantined for much of it, but we're enjoying it so far!
jessbains's profile thumbnail
This post made my day! I have always said I'm interested in too many things--college was filled with internships in different areas and a major that was the broadest engineering major possible. Honestly I've always been a little concerned about being a generalist, so I'm very happy to see your post! I finally began to thrive in my previous position, when I was given the freedom to take on tasks that I wanted from different areas (I ended up wanting all of them haha). My current position is another small company where I'm a little more specialized, but super high-touch with decision-makers and able to take on different tasks within my role. Excited to see where I'll go from here!
CierraWoodard's profile thumbnail
YESSSSS!!! All of this! 🙌🙌🙌The other thing I would add that’s valuable when you’re a generalist is being okay with taking a role that you’re excited about and can make an impact at even if it is in a different or new industry.I went from an agency to an A/V company and after a few years I felt like maybe I messed up. Maybe I left the agency/design world and won’t be wanted by other design companies. But then I found my current job (honestly a dream), and my mix of design background, project management and technology experience and opportunities that I got from the A/V company made me not only a candidate but I got hired. I like doing so many different things that didn’t necessarily seem to go together, but it’s all valuable experience. And recognizing that was one of the hardest parts about being ok with being a generalist.
NataliaDias's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for this article! It came to me in a moment that I was reviewing my choices here in Canada. But you are right, I love being a generalist and there is nothing wrong with that! The job market needs to understand that transferable skills are valuable and a person with a different background or from a different industry can add a lot of perspective to any business.