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Thoughts On Specialization

The specialization and segmentation of job roles within companies (in most people's lives?) is absolutely fascinating. Some people literally just won't do something themselves if it falls even the slightest bit outside of their job role. Is that because the more you show you know, the more you are requested (and used) to do things (and the more that is expected of you,) often without a corresponding increase in pay (or even acknowledgment)?

That was my experience when I worked in the job world.

And being in corporate environments here in New Zealand, I'm have seen, through reminders all around me, that the longer I have worked somewhere, the more that has been expected of me (which is justifiable). However (and now I'm not talking about New Zealand, but just jobs I've had in general in the past), the increased expectations haven't been matched with anything close to resembling a corresponding increase in rewards.

That's a different topic - rewards for work - which I'll write on another time. Getting back to the point about specialization, I'm reminded of the quotation that "specialization is for insects". But specialization is so prevalent among humans, and it's always been a puzzling thing to me to see a human become hyper-specialized and stop after achieving excellence in just one thing.

I'm forced (in running my own business) to always be expanding my skill sets, I'm always going to be a desirable asset to work inside of someone else's business, once given the opportunity to show what I can do. The skills I have are not only tactical (skills for the web, marketing, computers, communication, travel, negotiation, persuasion), but are the more strategic skills of learning quickly, and adapting easily.

Whereas I frequently see my lack of rigid focus as a weakness, I see in the job world how this lack of focus has pushed me into spaces where I've had to work through discomfort, learning or recruiting whatever skills I need at the time. I have also had to be quite flexible. These are developed abilities which are great strengths in almost every environment.

On some subliminal level, I've generally seen people who are specialized at just one thing, and only able to really work on that one thing, as one-track minded or unenlightened. But I think it's something that many people, even very enlightened people, actively choose. Humans CHOOSE specialization much more often than I had previously realized.

Just as my lack of specialization brings about both breadth and depth of skills, specialization brings about significant depth and excellence in a specific area.

Even though I believe we are spiritual machines built for much more than specialization alone, I'm wondering how I can best honor the skills of those who have chosen specialization (the world needs people who are passionate about their craft, whatever their craft may be), instead of trying to convert those into something "more".

Realizations:
1. I have subconsciously been judging people at many times in my life for choosing specialization, but I should honor their choices - and I need to constantly be figuring out how to best do that.
2. Living an expansive and exciting life has to be about pushing your boundaries and constantly growing (what the Japanese call Kaizen), whether you choose to be specialized or not.

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