RE: Not Sure

Subject: RE: Not Sure
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
To: <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 15:21:10 -0400

I was actually getting ready to post a message saying that the woman who was the subject of the original message starting this thread seemed to epitomize your least favorite type of (would-be) technical communicator -- the one who thinks all you need is a great command of the written word, and so can skate by with no technical knowledge at all. You appear to be expressing the general sentiment I expected, although you position doesnl;t seem to be as extreme as I was expecting.

NOTE: To Diane Evans in particular, and anybody else affected, I was referring specifically to the woman who was originally being discussed -- NOT to anybody else who uses the title "Communication generalist."

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Plato [mailto:gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 3:47 AM
Subject: Re: Not Sure

""Tamara Reyes-Muralles"" <> wrote

> Can someone tell me what a communication generalist is because I have
> never heard of the term. Thanks.

Generalist is basically code for "ocean wide, puddle deep." In other words, 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 specialized well of experience to draw upon.

Generalists have their place in some organizations. I would classify "generalists" as entry-level and junior positions.

Also, don't confuse a "generalist" with an "integrator." They are NOT the same. You cannot successfully integrate disparate systems, concepts, or methods using a broad swath of limited skills.

Integration is a job for a highly specialized class of analyst. An "integrator" must have intimate and detailed knowledge and experience in the relevant concepts. For example, integrating Linux with Oracle isn't something for a general open-source enthusiast. Such a job would demand a person who is intimately experienced with BOTH Linux and Oracle - as well as the overall concepts that may govern such usage (database design, systems administration, networking, etc.)

What generalists are good at is basic, task-level work. Something where they can apply general skills (like desktop publishing, light editing, document distribution, etc.).

Yes, I am biased here. 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. 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 don't drive them forward. Theory cannot replace hands-on knowledge. But you already know that.

Here have a cookie.

Andrew Plato

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