Generalist Vs. Specialist?? Guess this thought always rings in my mind.. Unofficial commonsense says that you can understand and learn the tricks of the trade in any specific work in 6 months.. Not convinced? May be one year. Could be two as well.. It ultimately depends on your comfort level.. Official Office Wisdom suggests that one becomes an expert if he has parked himself in the same stream for years together. Happens quite often in industry, right?
When people talk about Job Hopping and Loyalty and when I come across the so many specialists, a nagging thought always pops up in my mind. Are they in this field by choice or by default? Sometimes its so easy to stick on to what we know rather than go ahead and explore what we want. Especially when we are choosing our profession or a specialization.. We go by market trends or popularity index.. We drown ourselves in that work, be it SAP, ERP or MBA seldom giving it a second thought. Whenever that mindless frenzy tires our souls, few people would be able to answer what drives them to work on Monday morning? Is it love for job Or is it just another Manic Monday (ala Bangles fame)?
Career choices can be so tricky. Most of us make their careers in one specific direction just because someone advised them so. Or its just that they ended up doing what they are doing by fluke and are afraid to venture into a new field as it could be risky.
Robert A. Heinlein says, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
I know its totally out of context. Yet, is it? If you work in the field that you love, years pass on like days and that thirst for knowledge and zeal to learn never dies. I have seen some real specialists whose love for the job keeps them going. Its amazing to watch them live on the job. They work to live to their internal standards and for their individual passion.. On other side are those Generalists who venture into every field they come across, taking life and career as it comes and being adaptable to the demands of life.
Whatever category you belong to, always be on the side of those who has the luxury to wake up to do what they love to do everyday! It could be your choice (that was the field you dreamed into your life since childhood! ) or what fate has conjured it for you (yes, there is a long list of situations, responsibilities, fate, destiny with you to corroborate) . Yet, my only piece of advice is this. Love what you do or do what you love. Else, you will end up in a perennial crib club ride in life!