On Specialization

Sometimes I wish I could specialize more – work at a research university where I could do one or two things but do them superbly. Instead, I work as one of only four full-time staff at a small comprehensive college where I do ALL THE THINGS: website, ILS, e-resources, contracts and budgeting, technical support, instruction, reference, scholarly communications, and more.

Inevitably, I sometimes I feel inadequate to the volume and variety of work I have to do. On the other hand, I get to go home every day feeling that I achieved at least one concrete goal. Every sixteen hours I commence a very different workday. There is no sameness in my job.

And then I remember Robert Heinlein’s quote. He was a fascist SOB, but this is a good saying.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I love my job. 🙂

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