8 Aug 2023

Diary of a generalist: nourishing your multifaceted self by rethinking the "Jack of All Trades" narrative

We dive into: The 4 Archetypes of a Generalist, a framework for squiggly career progression, I'll then spin these into real-world examples of what a *delightful* generalist career flow could look like

And then... a pinch of spice 🌶️ I'll be busting the myth that generalists can't reach mastery

Hello again 👋 High-quality articles written for generalists are few and far between.

But don’t worry. I put the word out to the Generalist World community, & we now have more folks than ever working on well-researched, novel and (actually) helpful content.

So every time you click an email from Generalist World, you know it’ll be a cracker.

By generalists. For generalists.

You’re about to read one of our brand-spankin’ new editions — Diary of a Generalist. It's reflective, exploratory, and seeks out ’what’s the lesson here?’

It’s a way to hype generalists up, reminding you of your inherent strengths, with an injection of thinking reframes.

When I reflect on my early memories of being a generalist, the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind.

The saying often left me uneasy, carrying a hint of shame, as if cultivating diverse skills could only amount to a lack of expertise.

Over the years, the shame persisted as I constantly attempt to fit my varied interests and experiences into neat, concise narratives.

Am I a Community Manager or a Content Designer or a Product Person? Then add Photographer and Writer to the mix…. 🤯 Whether on a resume or in a casual conversation, I struggle to define myself in a way that others could easily comprehend.

Next came the food for thought: why do we hyper-fixate on singularity?

It seems that coherence, on those terms, is the sole signal for purpose and intentionality. However, a transformative shift in perspective emerges when we focus on the "why" behind our pursuits and present ourselves authentically.

By doing so, we allow ourselves to live purposefully, aligning our actions with our passions and values. Then, being able to share our inner selves fosters meaningful connections which can lead us to the opportunities we aspire to.

The challenge lies in helping others understand us.

"How do I find my voice?"

Simply — don't dampen it. Being a generalist compels us to forge our own path, fuelling curiosity and mettle that will come to use.

We have the potential to become pioneers, shape alternative courses, finding fulfilment at the intersection of our diverse passions and skills.

Embracing our multifaceted nature can lead to a more empowered and fulfilling professional life.

While breaking free from traditional thinking and set paths may pose challenges, our rapidly-changing world increasingly needs adaptable, versatile team players who can draw connections and trends across domains.

There is virtue in adventuring through our multiplicity, proving proficiency in having range.

I was surprised to only learn recently that "Jack of all trades, master of none" purportedly continues with "but oftentimes better than a master of one".

This powerful revelation encourages us to embrace our inner generalist power and reassess the limiting belief that we must abandon all but one thing.

Even if the voices in your head are manifold and seemingly disparate, work on clarifying your “why” instead of defaulting to linearity. Be open to the lessons from your dabbling and explorations — they will reveal something important about you.

So, what do you hear?

📚️ Further reading:

About the author:

Pin Han Lim is interested in the whys and hows, and thinking again. Working at the intersection of community-building, storytelling, and experience design, she is on the lookout for new ways to impact the creator economy and future of work spaces. She enjoys asking hard questions on Objectively and amplifying the voices of creatives and entrepreneurs. Connect with Pin on LinkedIn

See you next week — Milly 👋🏾

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Our content is brought free to you, courtesy of the Generalist World community memberships.

Our content is brought free to you, courtesy of the Generalist World community memberships.

Subscribe our newsletter to never miss an essay

Our content is brought free to you, courtesy of the Generalist World community memberships.