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Should You Be A Generalist Or A Specialist?

On the other hand, by being a generalist, you may get many different types of jobs, but more people are vying for those positions. And according to the BLS chart, many general occupations are entry-level, requiring little to no education. (Not all of them, of course, but a large percentage.)

Which is better?

Again, I'm not sure. I can share  more anecdotal experience, this time from a recent conversation with a colleague who has the same job I do, just at a different institution. He wants to retire, but he's afraid there won't be qualified applicants.

“It's crazy, Lisa,” he said. “Within a 100-mile radius, I think there are only four people who are qualified to take my job…and they are already doing the same job with their current employer!”

Of course, if everyone worked to be qualified to take over his position when he retires, then my specialization theory is full of holes. Being specialized wouldn't help you if there were lots of qualified people for a handful of jobs.

This brings up my concern with specializing. Is it possible to become too specialized and pigeonhole yourself so you're only qualified for a few jobs - and they're not available?

To be a generalist or not to be a generalist

After a long analysis, I don't think that being a generalist or specialist is really the point. Er, so thanks for reading this far .

What's more important is selecting an occupation you're interested in, one that will pay you enough to maintain your desired style of living, and then figure out how to specialize within that occupation (if you want to).

So what do you think? Can you earn more money with increased specialization within your field? Do specialists earn more in general? Can you be too specialized? Or does this even matter?

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