I have a lot of interests and a broad set of skills. I’m what you may call a jack of all trades, master of none. And I keep wondering if that is hurting me.
Nearly four years ago, I blogged about whether breadth or depth was better for your career.
I started out in materials science and engineering in undergrad. I got bored of it so I didn’t pursue a job in the field after graduation. Instead, I went to grad school for industrial engineering.
Then I went into consulting, what can be considered one of the most generalist professions.
When I got bored of that, I went back to business school and upon graduation, got a job in sports marketing.
Now I’m a tech entrepreneur, marketer, and product guy.
Clearly, I fall into the breadth camp. Or maybe the “get bored quickly” camp.
I was drawn to consulting, marketing, and product because of their breadth. I moved away from materials science because of its specificity.
I’m not saying that I should have stuck with materials science. But if I had stuck to a single function or industry, would I be further along than where I am today? Maybe. I’m not sure.
There are so many conflicting points of view about this. Some say you should focus on your strengths and have others do the rest. Others say to stop focusing on your strengths. Some say focus on one business, others say diversify your life.
I don’t know what the right answer is. And apparently many “experts” don’t agree, either.
I think the important thing is to continue to learn what you need to learn to improve, whether that subject matter is related to your strengths or weaknesses.
I learn a lot about marketing every day and continue to strengthen that strength.
Also, I’m a shitty programmer but I continue to learn to code because I think every tech entrepreneur should have at least some of that knowledge.
But this doesn’t stop me from thinking about whether I’d be better served by focusing on one thing or broadening my skills, and whether my diversity of interests is a bad thing.
What are your thoughts about having diverse interests? I’d love to hear your story.