Saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” about a generalist cannot be more wrong. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, generalists are actually highly specialized people. They are masters of not one, but two skills: problem solving and self learning.

It is inherent to the job. Faced with a problem you are not an expert in, you must gain enough knowledge quickly enough, while figuring out how to solve it. This means you have to perfect approaching a problem, and all the comes with it.

No wonder generalists flourish in early stage companies and in startups. Nothing is more useful in an environment hammered with problems, surrounded by the unknown. They can also become fine leaders. They have it easier understanding experts, can bridge gaps between departments, and knowing something about everything means they are hard to trick.

None of the above detracts from expertise. Expertise is necessary. Without it, many projects would not have come to fruition. In fact, generalists are experts in problem solving and self learning. Expertise, I would like to hope, gives joy to the people achieving it, and that exists regardless of market demand.

Unfortunately, generalists are often unappreciated not only by potential clients, but by themselves. The latter is especially saddening. They are the masters of the two most important skills of our day. They should be proud of it. Maybe we divide tasks by profession rather than skill, appreciating the honing of former more than the latter.

Whatever it is, better marketing is needed. I am personally consulted because I solve complex problems in many areas. Tech savvy and media production capabilities certainly help, but they are not the main attraction. I could always hire someone to do them. Instead, what pulls people in is knowing that I can help them with that crazy thing no one wants to hear about.