Generalists (was Not Sure )

Subject: Generalists (was Not Sure )
From: Samuel Choy <schoy -at- us -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2003 13:28:32 -0500

"Generalist is basically code for "ocean wide, puddle deep." In other
generalists will take a long time to ramp up to speed on the technologies,
methods, and processes of an organization because they don't have a
well of experience to draw upon."

If you use the equation Generalist = Clueless or Generalist =
knowledgeless. And actually, I don't like the word generalist. I don't
think the word actually means anything. It's a word that to one person can
mean "someone with a broad enough set of skills and experience that he or
she quickly becomes effective in many situations." To another person, it
can mean "someone who knows too little about any one thing to get work
done." I first heard the word "generalist" in my very first tech-writing
class. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.

If a flame war starts, its going to be between those two extremes. I think
that people will be screaming the same word at each other, but mean two
different thing.

<Portion of Andrew's post left out because I basically agree with it>

"Yes, I am biased here."

Yes, but who isn't?

"And yes, I fully expect at least two or three people to
be enraged over my bias and call me all sorts of foul names."

Andrew, would you marry me? There, bet that shook you up! Sorry, I couldn't
help myself.

"But, my bias is
derived from managing consulting teams for about 8 years. I've seen what
"generalists" do to projects. They mire them in theories and concepts and
drive them forward. Theory cannot replace hands-on knowledge. But you
know that. "

I wonder if the "generalists" you were working with were using that word to
cover up laziness.

"Here have a cookie."

Got any peanut butter cookies? They're my favorite.

Samuel Choy
IBM Rochester

My opinions are mine and not IBMs.

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