2 min read

Being a Generalist is Underrated

Being a Generalist is Underrated
Photo by Todd Quackenbush / Unsplash

Being a generalist is underrated. As a successful generalist my specialty is simply that I am me and nobody else is!

The unique combination of skills, knowledge, life events and personality quirks means that you and I each offer something that is unique to ourselves.

People who follow the 'must specialise' mantra may be making things harder for themselves  We can be struggling to find a niche with enough space to make our own and forget that we already occupy a niche that is uniquely ours and is defined by our own personal story.

True story about being a generalist, jack-of-all-trades to the extreme:

In the year that 'The Marian Centre' opened for business as a new Perth private psychiatric hospital I was employed as a senior Clinical Nurse to help create policies and procedures before the first patients arrived and then stayed on for another 3 years.

Soon after I started, the hospital needed some handyman work to be done, so I said 'no problem, I can be your handyman for one day a week'  

Next the gardener didn't turn up, so I ssid 'no problem, I can do that in the mornings before my nursing shift starts  

So I did, and for about 6 months I was mowing the lawn, then seeing patients as a Nurse and running the ward as shift manager, or acting-up as Hospital Manager after hours and on weekends.

And here and there I was turning up to patient rooms with a hammer and toolbox to fix their broken TV!

About 2 months after we started admitting patients the hospital decided it needed an intranet with digital tools and resources for staff use. I put my hand up and said 'Hire me! I can do IT stuff!

So they did and I dropped some nursing hours to do custom software development for the hospital.

One thing led to another and I ended up building from scratch a risk & incident management system, rostering & time sheet system, care planning and outcome measure collection system and much more.

At one point I literally was employed with 3 separate employment agreements at the same time for the same hospital. A Registered Nurse, A Handyman/Gardener and a Software Developer.

Eventually it was too much so I quit everything except for the IT work.  Over the next two years I built $250,000 worth of custom software tailored perfectly for the hospital's clinic's needs in a way that only I with my direct nursing experience could have done.  

Fun times!