In the disruption of work, we will all need to be generalists to some degree, even roles at large enterprises will require broad skill sets and an entrepreneurial mindset. No longer can we compartmentalize ourselves into being an “Java Developer” or “Business Development”. Everyone needs to know everything – having the entrepreneurial mindset of “just doing what it takes” will not be expected from everyone in any role.
Dan Pink’s prescient Free Agent Nation told us in 2002 that the world of work was going to be disrupted and we are seeing it happen. How can you survive in the new world of work? You need to be able to do a little bit of everything – no longer can you special in just doing one thing – your skill sneed to stretch beyond. The easiest way to do this – force yourself in those situations before you have to do them.
I used to be an engineering manager and coder – when the company I was working for decided to let me go. At the time my visa was in flux, so I begged them to keep me on in any role available. So I went into sales. I had no idea what I was doing, but after a few months, I landed a $250k contract, then a $500k contract. I forced myself to expand my skillset, and I was successful. I’m not special by any means – anyone can do this too. Human beings have an amazing capacity to learn and expand their minds and skillsets when they really need to or have to.