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Ponder Points

A Ponder Point is a significant, outstanding, or effective idea, argument or suggestion that needs to be weighed in the mind with thoroughness and care.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Specialization Is For Insects

In my opinion, in today’s world, the more skills and abilities that you are able to cultivate, the better off you are. The age of acquiring a specialized skill and spending your entire career utilizing that one skill for one major corporation is pretty much over. I have just finished reading the book Multipreneuring by Tom Gorman. Mr. Gorman's book presents a strategy to manage your career in a way that will work for you in a world with dramatic structural change in the workplace. He calls this strategy multipreneuring. Mr. Gorman defines the term this way:

“I’ve coined the word multipreneuring from the Latin multi meaning “many” or “more than one” and the English word “entrepreneur” which stems from the French verb entreprendre, which means to undertake. So multipreneuring literally means “more than one undertaking”.

Mr. Gorman practices what he preaches. He has enjoyed careers as an executive recruiter, commercial banker, corporate consultant and freelance writer. He is currently a middle manager for DRI/McGraw-Hill in Lexington, Mass. His strategy is to develop several streams of income rather than rely on only one corporate source. Mr. Gorman continues:

“Multipreneuring entails actually having multiple skills, so that you can develop multiple sources of income and multiple careers, either simultaneously or serially. Multipreneuring enables you to manage risks – financial risks, professional risks, emotional risks, and creative risks – rather than deny them or be disabled by them. Multipreneuring represents a continual process of learning new skills, new strategies, new fields, new businesses, and new markets and of developing new contacts, customers, and friends. Essentially, multipreneuring entails understanding the principles and practices that will enable you to prosper in times of massive economic change, like, for example, the times we live in now.”

I have been utilizing this strategy my entire adult life but did not have a label for it. For years society has told those of us who operate this way that we were unfocused, unsettled and unwilling to commit to one career choice. We have been called jacks of all trades and masters of none. It appears that those of us with multiple skills and wide ranging knowledge have the advantage in today’s world. Our time has come!

I will end this post with the following quote from Robert A. Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Robert A. Heinlein


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