Re: Specialize or Die?
Q: Do you have a specialty within tech writing that you prefer?
Yes. Being a generalist.
Being a specialist might land you one particular job, but if the job disappears or the specialty falls out of demand, you could be out of luck. The best you could do is find another specialty as quickly as possible. By contrast, a generalist can cope much better with a changing situation. To take my own example, with tech-writing jobs drying up, I'm currently doing more marketing and design work than I used to. As a result, the current job market hasn't hit me in the same way as other people. And when the next shift in the market happens, I'll adjust with much less difficulty than the specialists.
I'd be cautious about True Believer talks which suggest that one single trend represents the future. (but then, as a generalist, I would, wouldn't I?) I've been hearing for several years that specialization was the way to go, but it hasn't happened yet, and I'm not waiting up nights, either. I've managed very well by not specializing - and had a more interesting time, too.
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com
"No safe house in Birmingham, I found no peace in Skye,
The green fields of Derry were just another lie,
Wrap the barbed wire round me, say I don't belong,
Kick me till I couldn't move, then tell me to move on."
-OysterBand, "The Deserter"
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Specialize or Die?: From: Edwin Wurster
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