Monday Smiles – 11/2/2015
A generalist is someone who learns less and less about more and more until he knows absolutely nothing about everything. A specialist learns less and less about more and more until he knows absolutely everything about nothing – Unknown
I like to think I walk the middle ground between knowing nothing about everything and everything about nothing but in my vocation, I am definitely a specialist. Starting out in what was already a specialized field, electrical engineering, almost 20 years of higher education has narrowed my field until it is likely that most people wouldn’t understand my resume. Adaptive beamforming. LMS noise cancellation. Eigenvalue analysis. See? But almost fifty years experience in those corners of the world make me valuable to others who use such things in their business. Some years ago, when business with my company was slow, I registered with an expert placement company. The company maintains a database of resumes across a wide range of fields on line. Professionals needing the support of specialists they don’t need often enough to employ full time can find the professional support they need by searching the database using online tools. The work is usually very interesting but it brings a degree of pressure with in that clients expect an expert to provide innovative solutions in a relatively short time. I’ve supported attorneys in patent cases, evaluated products for potential buyers and applied some of the techniques I’ve learned in military systems to commercial products.
I enjoy drawing and sketching because it gives me a creative outlet without the time commitment of taking on a watercolor or oil painting. Working as an expert is like that compare to my company’s jobs which may go on for years. This weekend I put the finishing touch on a job for a company specializing in equipment for outsdoorsmen. As in nearly all of these jobs, I am working on things that are highly proprietary, so I can’t be very specific. But I came into the job thinking I would be able to use an approach to their problem that I used working for the Navy. Not so … their problem was very different than what I expected. So, instead I tried something I’d seen in the recording industry and, at least at this point, it seems to solve their problem. No, it ain’t rocket science but at 71 years old it’s nice to pull a solution out of my … er … old brain that surprises even me.
It’s Monday … I’m smiling.