Niche or Broad?

Do you want to be a Generalist or a Specialist? Not since the days of debating the Chicken and Egg have people struggled with what steps to take first in order to develop a successful career.

YouTube comments:

“People may be confused by how he means to specialize. To specialize doesn’t mean going into one thing and ignoring everything else. That actually would be pretty much impossible. Could you imagine if all typography was black and white because no one who knows typography knows good color theory? Your niche is like a tree. People are looking for that great big oak! But you need roots to support that tree. And if those roots are big and strong it can even be a selling point for the tree. Have you ever went “Wow this tree has some cool looking roots. All twisty and woven together.”

“This is really interesting. I am 100% sold on niching, I think it’s inevitable if you want to build a sustainable business. But I’ve never seen the external/internal comparison before. This should totally put to bed the concerns people have about niching down. Stay curious and try new things, but only sell the ONE thing. Use all your learnings on the stuff you do behind the scenes to make the ONE thing even better. Very inspiring!”

“I really wish I heard this advice about 25 years ago when I finished my first degree in engineering. I was too afraid to specialize further and I ended up generalizing more. Asa result, my degree ended up failing to produce meaningful results. I would have also had time to spend on other interests. So I’m middle age now, doesn’t mean I can’t apply this information now. I always thought keeping my options open was a good idea and to some degree it is but there’s a point where you have to put limits on it. I had no limits. There’s a Russian proverb, ‘Chase two rabbits and you’ll go hungry.'”

Generalist vs. Specialist: Which Is Better?

YouTube comments:

“As a former gifted kid, this explains so much about how I was taught.”

“My trajectory as a designer was to be very general for along time. This helped shape my overall skillset but when it came to actually delivering projects and building a business, I needed some aspect of specialisation. Perhaps specialising is the thing that sits at the front of a broad skillset?”

“Specialist are often strange people and limited thinkers. I became a chess champion at 7 for the first time, I turned away from it because of it’s limitations on thought. After a few years of defending my title I just couldn’t see the point anymore.”

“I think the ideal is to be a generalist, where you are go in depth for 2-3 domains… for example, I am an engineer and have background in operations management, but also try to learn a bit of everything (finance, IT, sales, etc)”

Germany to smooth entry for foreign skilled workers

The German government is drafting new plans to smooth the entry process for foreign skilled workers. It’s a move that companies say is long overdue: The country’s aging workforce is a growing liability, while positions in IT and software development are notoriously hard to fill. More companies are now looking abroad for help.

YouTube comments:

“I am a Spanish Software engineer living in Germany, I love this country. The language barrier was difficult, but my german wife helped me a lot.”

“German companies should start paying more, to begin with. I have hard time believing they can attract top talent with present level of salaries. Even their doctors are leaving en masse to other countries.”

“To compare German passports with Titanic tickets might be too harsh of a comparison. But if German thinks its innovation can be fueled by mercenaries, that kind of human resource policy is doomed to fail. Companies give options and shares to encourage employees to give their best and be loyal. There’s a reason electric cars are re-imagined in the USA, by immigrants, not in Germany where all the automobile giants reside. But well, some people try to steer the Titanic, some probably are proud just sinking with the tickets in their hands. If there’s a book that fits German’s approach, it’s “Only the Paranoid Survive”, the thing is 🙂 Germany often is paranoid about the wrong thing.”

“There is a very specific and a systematic reason as to why in the 50 years of the software/Internet/IT industry, there has NOT been a single non-American company which has gone on to become a globally profitable, consumer product, and a publicly traded company. Germany still lives in the 19th century when it comes to their traditional companies. You have to accept the fact that English is a global language. No one speaks German in Asia, for example, which is the two thirds of the world population.”

“They are more skilled workers in Germany than they need, the problem is the companies require you to speak fluent German language which is impossible in one year. They need us but they don’t want us!”

New green card system to tackle shortage of skilled workers

December 2022. The German cabinet agreed in principle to immigration reform in a bid to secure more skilled workers. Europe’s biggest economy is currently experiencing a lack of roughly half a million people to its workforce and wants to make up for the shortfall.

The federal government said it wanted to boost immigration and training to tackle a skills shortage which is hampering the country’s economy at a time of weakening growth. Meanwhile, an aging population is increasing pressure on the public pension system.

Germany is also keen on granting immigrants from the Western Balkan countries that are not in the EU, such as Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, access to their job market for an unlimited amount of time. The proposals to amend the Skilled Immigration Act, first introduced in March 2020, include an “opportunity card” for jobseekers.

YouTube comments:

“Germany is a great country to move — But living in Germany is difficult, salary is relatively low, bureaucrats, high taxes, immigrants can never feel german even of they acquire citizenship. In Canada you feel Canadian right after you arrive there. Germans are not that open minded as people from English speaking countries. Language barrier is real!”

“The title should be the shortage of CHEAP labor shortage.”

“That is fantastic news for US citizens, cuz i don’t think any US citizen want to give up their citizenship for any other country. US allows dual citizenship. I am sure many Americans would love to live in a social democratic country.”

“The solution is simple, make English the 2nd official language along with German. It would facilitate literally EVERYTHING in an instant. Plus, It would be a safe bet that skilled workers would come in droves! What happens is, understandbly so, most workers prefer to exclusively migrate to countries in whom they don’t have to start to study a new language from scratch to be able to integrate and maybe after a decade will be successful at filing their tax reports in German. Examples are Malta, Singapore and a few others. It would make Germany 50 times as attractive for international job seekers who would traditionally rather opt for Canada or UK….or if they happen to be plastic surgeons or Astronauts with half a mil in the bank: the US.”

Is it better to be a specialist or a generalist?

In his new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David Epstein, Sports Illustrated senior writer and New York Times bestselling author, argues that the path to specialist expertise is the exception, not the rule. Drawing from interviews and studies of successful individuals in a variety of fields, Epstein shows time and time again that our greatest strength is the ability to think broadly.

Generalist vs. Specialist

When pursuing a career you can either be a generalist, who knows many skills and ideas, or a specialist, who focuses on becoming an expert in one area. Depending on how much training and the depth of study you undergo can determine which one you are and how marketable you are in the job field.

Learning the differences between being a generalist and being a specialist can help you determine which level of responsibility you want and which one is best for you. In this article, we define what a generalist is, explain what a specialist is and compare the two roles and weigh the pros and cons of each.

    Don’t Underestimate Generalists

    The traditional path to success has emphasized excelling in a single discipline or field rather than being a generalist. But writer David Epstein is challenging that wisdom, contending that it’s sometimes better to be a jack of all trades.

    Author David Epstein: “I think most people have absorbed at least the gist of the Tiger Woods story. His father gave him a putter when he was six months old. He was physically precocious and dragged it around everywhere in his circular baby walker, started imitating a swing at 10 months. By 2 years old, he was on national TV showing off his swing in front of Bob Hope. By 3, his father started to media train him. Fast forward to 21, he’s the best golfer in the world. He’s very focused on golf — large amounts of deliberate practice where it’s like technical training.

    Roger Federer, on the other hand, played a dozen different sports from skiing and skateboarding, rugby, badminton, basketball, soccer, all sorts of things. He delayed specializing. His mother was a tennis coach and refused to coach him because he wouldn’t return balls normally. When his coaches tried to kick him up a level, he declined because he just wanted to talk about pro wrestling with his friends.

    When he first got good enough to warrant an interview from the local paper and they asked what would he buy with his first check if he ever became a pro, [they thought] he said a Mercedes. His mother was appalled and asked if she could hear the interview recording. She did, and Roger had actually said “mair CDs” in Swiss-German, which just means he wanted more CDs, not a Mercedes, so she was OK with that.

    He kept playing badminton, basketball and soccer years after his peers were focusing only on tennis, and obviously he turned out OK. So, which one of these is the norm? If you look at the science instead of just individual stories, which is a norm?

    It turns out it is the Roger pattern. All around the world, sports scientists track the development of athletes and found they have a so-called sampling period, where they gain these broad general skills to scaffold later learning. They learn about their interests. They learn about their abilities. They systematically delay specializing until later than their peers, who plateau at lower levels.”

    Work in Germany. 5 Reasons.

    Germany has some of the strictest labour laws in Europe. The country has gone to great lengths to try to ensure that workers rights are enshrined in law. This makes it a particularly attractive place to live and work in.

    YouTube comments:

    “Bildungsurlaub” / educational vacation is limited to 5 days per work-year, but you can combine the educational days of two years to a total of 10 days. In most cases you will have to book a surveyed course to profitize on this regulation. Sick leave with payment through your employer is limited to 7 weeks, after that you will receive “Krankengeld / sick-leave-payment” through your health-insurance which is only 70% of your salary.”

    “There are laws for everything. I work for myself. Imagine you earn 200k in a year. More than 40% is going to the gouverment. You also have to pay more for health insurance if you earn more. Same thing with investments like rental objects. And 1000 other things. And now? Energy, food almost everything is getting more expensive. life was good a few years ago.”

    Why Americans Are Moving to Germany for Work

    Looking at how Germany and the USA treat types of “leave”, there is one universal truth: whereas Germany sees it as a basic human right, America sees it as a commercial bargaining chip… and the statistics in this video schocked us.

    Looking at our contracts, our employment in Germany is so much more humane – with a work-culture that guarantees vacation time, maternity leave, sick leave, parental leave and more for all full-time workers.

    YouTube comments:

    “I think it is important to note that the benefits we enjoy in germany did not just fall from the heavens, but they are the results of many decades of struggle by the workers movement. Do not take these things for granted! Join the union and vote for worker-friendly parties.”

    “Before every American now starts to look for a job in Germany, keep in mind, that this is not uniquely German. Nearly all European countries have similar regulations like Germany, sometimes a little less, sometimes even significantly better.”

    “When I had my first baby, I was working in retail for a cosmetics company in Germany. They had to provide a chair and stretcher for me to sit/ lie down at all times. I wasn’t allowed to carry anything heavy and after 22 weeks of pregnancy wasn’t allowed to work standing up for more than 4 hours a day. At every doctor’s appointment, my OBGyn would ask me if I was still ok working or if they should give me a Beschäftigungsverbot (a kind of mandatory medical leave), which is fairly common in the last few months of pregnancy, especially for jobs that can be physically straining.”