Sorry for all the crazy layout changes on the blog. I’m trying to figure out what I want this website to be. But it’s kind of hard to determine that because I don’t know what I want to be. At some point you think you have it figured out what you want to be when you grow up and then after a time it all changes. Maybe I’m having one of those quarter life crisis.
It could be perfectly fine to have a quarter life crisis. I listened to an Art of Manliness podcast, “Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”. This episode really spoke to me because it went through the science why people who try a lot of different things end up excelling once they find their “fit”.
The podcast started off with sports examples. That people like Tiger Woods, who specialized in golf at the age of three, are an anomaly. The majority of humans can’t do that and maybe even shouldn’t. David Epstein, the guest on the episode, talked about the tennis player Roger Federer. Federer’s mom was a tennis coach but she refused to train him. Instead, she encouraged him to try a variety of sports. Eventually, Federer found that tennis was his “fit”. He was able to excel because his brain was trained to think and react to a variety of different scenarios from all the different sports he played.
Is specialization the best way to fight automation?
You’ve probably seen articles about how our jobs are going to be automated or taken over by robots. Even white collared jobs aren’t safe from artificial intelligence and machine learning. You might think that you have to specialize and go even deeper into your career to be safe but that might not actually be the best course of action.
If a field or task is specialized, it is probably very well defined and documented. There are probably specific outcomes and objectives. This is easier for AI and machine learning to comprehend. The more specialized, the more likely it is to be automated. That’s actually good for humans because our brains are better at tackling the unknown then doing repetitive tasks.
The more experiences and hobbies we have, the more likely we are to be able to take on complex problems that have no clear outcome.
The more experiences and hobbies we have, the more likely we are to be able to take on complex problems that have no clear outcome. We’re better able to handle soft skill situations, combined with the work to create a solution.
I think, that’s one of the things I love about about being a business analyst. You have to understand the organization, the people that make it up, and the current technology they use. Then you have to take all of that, totally shake it up, and apply it to new tech and create whole new business processes, then teach it back to the people.
That’s not something you can learn from a textbook. Sure, I took classes on systems analytics and business process design. But those were each small parts to the bigger picture of what it takes to be a BA. I remember a professor telling our class that we were all going to be managers one day. I didn’t believe him at the time. I knew I loved the class and my major (which I didn’t even know MIS was a thing until I worked with a counselor), but I had no idea what I was going to do when I graduated.
Little did I know that all my experiences from failed business competitions in college and being fired from my first job after I graduated, would eventually lead me to co-founding and becoming COO of my own VR startup.
In that time I tried a whole bunch of new things. I dabbled in pretty much every role in the SDLC process. I was a developer (not my “fit”), QA tester, business analyst, Scrum Master, trainer, project manager, you name it I can do it!
In that time I honed my writing skills. Any chance to publish a blog post or whitepaper, I took. I love writing training guides and reports. In reading, editing, and publishing I found another “fit”. Now, I have the joy getting paid specifically to write!
Lilyotron, however has always been a passion project. I appreciate donations to the blog. But this is where I want to share my experiences and lessons learned. This is where I work through what is good and what can be improved with the tech of the moment. Lilyotron is where I hear feedback from you and I can then apply it back into the next thing I post. Writing makes me happy and that’s what I want to put front and center on the blog.
Did you specialize or do you think of yourself as a generalist? Let me know your story in the comments below!