Conversation with a younger friend
I've been conversing with a good friend of mine via email. She's about 10 years younger than me and frankly, I only WISH I was doing what she was going when I was her age. I adore this young woman.
The ways in which we develop our skills and hone in our our *career* is evolving, yet it remains the same in the fact that most of us in our early to mid-20s had or have no idea who we are or what we want to do.
Is the new emphasis on being a generalist (a buzzword I can handle, for whatever reason) serving to give the more-recent grads hunting for jobs ample opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot by aiming to be *generalists*? By focusing on too much, will they end up with too little?
This is a distinct possibility, because our jobs at this age give us the wisdom and experience to figure out how far we wish to go with those skills and how we want to apply them.
And this is what I wrote:
What I've learned with being a *generalist* myself is that you still have to have a central area of expertise. For me, it is a lot easier to define this because I'm older and have worked longer than you—I am primarily a writer, and always will be whether it is content or copy, but I've widened my scope to include UX, analysis, computation, blah blah blah.
So even as generalists, we still have to show how being a generalist shapes and enhances our core expertise.
If you set out to be a generalist now, per se, you may never end up developing that core area. I know how difficult the job search is even with my experience—what will be the best place where I can bring my highly-developed skills to benefit the organization, while also expanding on my secondary areas of interest/expertise through learning from and collaborating with those specialists.
So even as a generalist, you still have to be a specialist.