My Interview with Geek Whisperers on Being a Technical Generalist

I had the honor (and fun) of being the guest on the most recent episode of the Geek Whisperers podcast (Episode 129).

I know this will cause my long-time readers to immediately ask two questions:

  1. How is it, exactly, that these folks have managed to do 128 episodes without having you as a guest before now?
  2. Isn’t this episode incredibly timely given your current job search?

I’ll attempt to answer these questions as best I can.

  1. You know, I have no idea. Somehow they’ve managed to produce 128 great episodes of a very successful podcast without any involvement from me whatsoever… (Here’s hoping that in later years people aren’t looking back at Episode 129 as the moment that Geek Whisperers jumped the shark…)
  2. It is incredibly timely, but that’s no coincidence. It was my posting about the job search that had the Geek Whisperers reach out to me and invite me to be a guest.

It was a great conversation that I enjoyed a lot. My job search was more of a tangent that got a mention. What we focused on was the idea of being a technical generalist (as opposed to specializing in one particular area), and where (and how) this can be either an advantage or disadvantage to one’s career.

Having been working full-time in IT for 30 years now (and a year and half part-time prior to that), I’ve been a generalist in simple-job-description-defying hybrid roles for the vast majority of my career — most often by choice, but sometimes having it thrust upon me due to circumstances.

During the course of the podcast, we discuss this and the advantages and pitfalls of this approach to one’s career, as well as a number of related topics and stories. Oh, and I also received the Official Geek Whisperers confirmation of my Unicorn Status. (You’ll have to listen to the episode to understand this…)

You can check out the podcast episode here. Give it a listen, then let me know what you think, or ask any follow-on questions, in the comments below.

Thanks to Amy Lewis, John Mark Troyer, and Matt Broberg for inviting me on! Let’s not wait another 128 episodes before we do this again…

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