One Third

Four months of 2022 gone by. That’s eight fortnights. Sixteen weeks.

It’s easy to count days. Have those days counted?

It’s a thought I’m always wrestling with. Impostor syndrome kicks on the doors. Sometimes it kicks the door in.

Today, I came across a talk by Brandy Foster “The Rise of the Generalist”.  Her personal story of becoming a Comp Science lecturer with a specialisation in English literature is unusual. She makes the claim that

“professional generalists find themselves in the position of convincing others that their varied experience is as valuable as that of the narrow specialist. In fact, as our economy moves towards even more automation of specialized tasks, the value of a generalist’s perspective is growing. Further, in a world of growing complexity, the advantage goes to the generalist, who may lose to a specialist’s expertise in a single domain, but wins every time when the game continues to span across many domains.”

Leadership skills are primarily about breadth, not necessarily only depth. Some technical expertise helps, I suppose, but more important than that is the ability to “join the dots” across mutliple areas and disciplines. My  experiences with true “general” managers has been awe-inspiring yet rare.  Like Ms Foster, I hope to see more true generalists blossom in our super-specialised world.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

The reason Ms. Foster’s talk resonated with me is because my impostor syndrome kicks in most often when someone asks me why I, a non-technologist, am in a team of smart technologists/developers. I contribute 9% of the team’s headcount. A measurable thing.  What’s fascinating is nearly everyone has the same impostor syndrome about themselves: what value do I bring to this team? won’t I be found out that I’m a fraud?

What would it look like if work was not the only driving force in my life? in all our lives? What would my world look like?