Should You be a "Jack of all Trades" or a Specialist? -- The EE Compendium

It's that time of year again. Time when my contract runs out. Just running out this time folks, I actually got good and had time to grow into this position, but with the economy as it is ... and The Mouse doing some house-cleaning (translated re-org), it's hard for a "generalist" like me to figure out where I fit best, let alone where to go next.

Craig Fisher, who writes at FishDogs - Career Branding for Social Animals directed me to the following article:

The generalists' range of knowledge makes them a better candidate for promotion to a supervisory or managerial position. When that happens, the generalist may not understand that in addition to the high stress of being expected to know everything technical, they will now be subjected to the stress of being involved in corporate politics. Whereas they became a "Jack of all trades" because of their love of science and technology, now they need to become an expert at "covering their ass", "back stabbing", and other political games.

If an individual, who became a "jack of all trades" because of their love of science and technology, refuses to accept a promotion to a supervisory or managerial position, they will be considered to be "lacking in ambition" and will not be receiving any future meaningful salary increases.

from --
Should You be a "Jack of all Trades" or a Specialist? by Stephen Bucaro

I'm good at what I do, but like the article mentions "master of none" and I think that's becoming quite the liability. All the jobs I want to apply for I just don't have quite the depth of experience needed. It's very frustrating to know that given half a chance I could become masterful in the time alloted, unfortunately, any particular skillset is needed now, not in a few months. I guess I don't mind meetings and telling people what to do, but I already know from experience that I don't do well in office politics. I just want to get things done.

So, what's a girl to do? I still have mouths to feed and bills to pay.
3/2 Update (also in comments)

Contract extended :). I don't know my new end date, but being here past the end of this week is good news.

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  1. Annette, this is a great post. It is a subject that I discuss with candidates often. When someone tells me, in regard to their job search, that they "do a little of everything" or "are willing to try anything", I always advise them to go for the thing they are best at or have the most experience with. Recent experience gives you higher bonus points. But it isn't always easy for people to see the trend in their job history. I feel your pain, but I think there is a cure:)

  2. Darlin', I too am a Jane of All Trades. I feel ya.

    I'm grateful to have a job that I can do it all and actually getting paid well to do it all. Ah, the joy of small nonprofit! :)

  3. GOOD NEWS!!! Contract extended. I don't know how long, but they keep giving me more and more responsibility, so ... at least till the re-org is done. Just waiting on confirmation from Aquent.

    @fishdogs Thank you SO MUCH for your advice, I'm still going to work on my LinkedIn profile for the day when I will be looking again.

    @Oakley - maybe I should look into small non-profits :)

  4. Good to hear your contract was extended.
    I'm in the same vote, I was put in a managerial position last year. Did great at it because that what people like us do. We exceed at everything we do but it just wasn't me. I want to be in work and just do it. Not be be stuck in those meetings all day.

    So happy things worked out for you. :)


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