Thursday, August 10, 2006

Self Centered Generalist

Yesterday a friend got a new computer; she was so excited. Computers are her “thing”. She said she was not a teenage when she discovered that she could really get excited about something (computers) and was good at working with them.

In these days, being a specialist is good, especially for your career path. You need some diversification and some cross training, but specialists get jobs and raises. Generalists don’t.

I am a generalist. I like computers and love to tinker with their innards and outtards. I like art, and I’m learning to paint. I love theology, and I want to help people have a relationship with God – of course, I’ve never figured out how to do that. I was a journalist and flak for a number of years. I’ve done some commercial photography and was good in a print shop. I organized and ran an ecumenical social service organization for a while. I’ve done some fundraising and some bad credit management of my own. I’ve worked as a temp secretary for large corporations, and I’ve pulled staples for a small-minded sweet-treat company. What I haven’t ever done is specialize.

It’s always been a source of embarrassment for me that, while I know a little bit about a lot of things, I don’t know very much about anything. I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous because I sound good and certain. I speak forcefully and with authority – even when I don’t know beans about the subject.

I’ve been reading blogs lately, and all these wonderfully written pieces don’t start with “I”. My blog would if I didn’t consciously change the opening sentence. Perhaps it’s rebellion against so many years of writing news stories that had to include all the facts in the lead sentence with never a first or second person pronoun. Perhaps I’m just self-centered and like to read my own opinion. (Not a bad idea since sometimes I inform myself of what I think by writing it in my blog.)

Perhaps the most telling thing about this observation is that I like doing lots of things. I like talking about lots of things. But, I really like reading about religion, God, theology, and justice. As I get older my attention span gets shorter; so blogs are great places for me to be happy and get excited and laugh a lot. These people decipher the jargon of politicians (both in and out of the church) and blow the chaff away, leaving only the good grainy heart of the matter for me to absorb. Thanks, y’all.

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