Thought piece Thursday #11 - Should you be a generalist or specialist in life?

Specialists have success, generalists get good!

When you think about generalists or specialists, what do you think?

Hopefully you know the difference however here's a story to catch you up:

Imagine you're younger, say 15 or 16 and back working at the local retail or take-away shop. Your manager tells you to stack the shelves, make a burger or answer emails. Throughout your shift you also interact with customers, take phone calls and have to organise with a colleague of yours who will do other tasks.

This probably isn't the general store you worked at right?

This probably isn't the general store you worked at right?


Here's in the former tasks, stacking the shelves or making a burger you're looking at specialist skills where what you are doing is specific to an industry or sector. If you were to be operated on you'd hope that your surgeon has practised being a specialist at working on a heart or a kidney right? Skills that a generalist has  are the later ones such as communicating (written or verbal), negotiating or time management. Now that you've got an idea what else of these is what is more important?

To specialise or not to specialise?

Apart from the really cheesy Shakespeare quote, whether to specialise or not is subjective. Generally being a specialist looks to be the go to option in a career and / or life. While this is a fair point and usually once you acquire a skill that is difficult to do, you can usually be paid more for your experience and knowledge.

Have you thought about doing both?

While it looks like for career progression or when running your own business, being a specialist generally results in higher pay and potentially greater financial "success", can you do both?

The answer is sure why not? When you are operating on a patient or placing trades as an investment banker or cutting someone's hair skills such as communication, time management and negotiating are skills that will come in handy. By virtue of working with others you'll naturally develop both the specialist and generalist skills.

The real answer!

The real answer is that yes you can do both however discovering a skill or niche that you are interested in & one that actually makes you money will then help you to practice the generalist skills too.

Are you a specialist or generalist? What do you feel is more important?

What areas in your financial life do you need help with?

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Remember to live your money Glee! :)