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The Secret Power Of The Generalist – And How They’ll Rule The Future

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

We’ve become a society that’s data rich and meaning poor. A rise in specialists in all areas – science, math, history, psychology – has resulted in tremendous content. But how valuable is that knowledge without context?


Despite the corporate world’s insistence on specialization, the workers most likely to come out on top are generalists – but not just because of their innate ability to adapt to new workplaces, job descriptions or cultural shifts. Instead, according to writer Carter Phipps, author of Evolutionaries generalists will thrive in a culture where it’s becoming increasingly valuable to know “a little bit about a lot.”


Meaning that where you fall on the spectrum of specialist to generalist could be one of the most important aspects of your personality – and your survival in an ever-changing workplace.

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

I like this article because it’s the argument I’ve been making for several years, especially when looking for positions. I know plenty about lots of things, but I’m not a specialist in just one topic. This makes me much more flexible and able to see the bigger picture in different contexts. I would think that the ability to be that flexible would be seen as an asset, not count against me. Fortunately, the company I work for now did see that as an asset, and continues to find value in what I can contribute for them.  Many companies missed this opportunity where I know I could’ve helped them out, because they were too narrow minded in what they wanted.  Hence, this is why I advocate self-promotion as a multi-specialist. I hope more companies come around with their way of thinking sooner than later. 


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Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

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