Are you more a specialist or generalist?

Can you recognize yourself in this gif?


If you said “YES!!” to that question, congratulations, you’re now officially stuck in the rut of life.

When I announced that we are moving to Denmark a few months ago, someone told me “I understand. You’re young, you want to try something new.”.

When my manager shared to the colleagues that I was leaving, he wrote “Andrea will be seeking a new adventure in Denmark”.

It made me laugh.
The truth is exactly 180 degrees of that.
I  hardly ever feel the need for anything unexpected to happen.
In fact, I wish for once my life would be without too much excitement.

When I googled “living in a rut”, I got thousands of hits on how to escape it.
Not one article promotes the convenience of “boring”, routine days.

Is this because it’s too weird to admit?

During my Personal Development talk with my manager, he asked me how I would like to see myself grow.
“Only in height”, I winked.
He did not understand my joke.

“If you ask me for my own personal wishes, I’d like to only teach the Electrical Safety courses only”, I tried again.
He frowned. “Wouldn’t you get bored with that?”.
“Not the least”,
I answered.

I have been lucky that I have been infected in my early career with the only topic that truly interest me.
I have no wish to change this passion. I will NEVER get bored with it.

This “specialist” behaviour also translate in my personal life.

There is a few countries I want to visit.
Once I checked them off, I will simply visit them again. Just in another season.

Also, why would I risk trying a new restaurant when there is a handful I know for sure will satisfy my taste buds?

The first time I realized I am more of specialist than a generalist, is during a personality test in highschool.
There were two pictures of the Sagrada Familia, with the question:
Which picture shows more?


Which one would you have answered and why?
And does it reflect to your personality of being more of generalist or specialist?

Do you think generalists look for a more adventurous life and specialists are OK being “stuck in the rut”?

26 thoughts on “Are you more a specialist or generalist?

  1. I like the one on the right, it shows more detail. quality over quantity.

    I also know what I like and have no wish to change just for the empty sake of changing, and yep – people in the corporate world don’t like or understand that. I don’t want to be in charge of anything professionally – I get more than enough of that in my personal life! I can be interested in just about anything because I can find meaning in a lot, but that translates into “she can’t settle down”. But I really would love to have one nice boring job that would bring enough money in. I’d be happy with boring. I totally understand what you are saying.

  2. I don’t think its a rut at all, I feel like it’s a zen type thing that most don’t understand because we are in a Do, Do, Do world instead of a Be world.

  3. My theory is that if you do the same thing over and over and enjoy it you’re in a groove. If you do the same thing over and over and don’t enjoy it you’re in a rut. Enjoy your groove, Andrea.

  4. I love this post Andrea. I can completely relate. While I like some excitement and adventure occasionally, I’m perfectly happy with a calm life. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I guess it depends.

    I am very detail oriented, but I also look at the bigger picture.
    Like with restaurants – you had to visit the ones you like for the first time at some point. You will never know unless you try something else. I’m all for going back to the same spots, but also discovering new things.

    The right picture shows more detail. But, I like the picture on the left more. It’s more aesthetically pleasing. Also, you can see its size compared to the trees.

    I don’t think adventure/ rut is a generalist/ specialist kind of thing. But then again, I think I’m a mixture of all 4, so what do I know?

  6. To be honest, I don’t even know what I’m looking at. I can understand your desire to be narrowed down to one maybe two tasks. I would enjoy this as well, less things to know and less talking to be done.

  7. My instinct went with the second picture. What does that make me? The first picture drew me in briefly but only because I thought it looked nice as a whole thing, not really because I thought of it as something I would want if I could own it.

  8. haha, I love the gif. It describes me very well on some days.

    I’d choose the image on the left. This would make me a generalist right?

    I agree with you on the teaching a subject that you’re passionate about. I would imagine that it gets easier to teach as the years go by with more experience. I keep wishing for more years of experience because after I teach a lesson a few times, it’s so much easier to teach the next time around. So I totally see the convenience in focusing on one course.

  9. According to the Personality Test which I did at the time, the second picture would make you a specialist.
    You’re more into details!
    Welcome to the club 😉

  10. Love this as this really got me to wanting to know more about myself. So, I took a 20 question quiz – – and found out I was a generalist. My first thought is that I was a specialist and I was quite surprised until I read their analogy of a generalist. Sometimes, I feel most of us can be both. As with me, it all depends on what mood I’m in for the day and whether I want to be an introvert or extrovert. I do thrive on change and get very board with the same thing all the time. To change is to improve is my thought process.

    Thanks for the great information and now I want to read up on this church in Spain.

  11. Oh man! Usually I hate personality tests, but this is the best one I have ever done!
    With every question I was like “yes yes! this is so me!”
    An of course I turned out to be specialist.
    Thanks so much for sharing 😀

    I think most people consider themselves to be a mixed.
    But I am very clearl not. Many people think this is bullshit, but to all of them: feel free to get to know me better and see for yourself, haha

  12. Ah this is a hard one to answer. I like a bit of both routine and adventure. I’d say the second picture (the close up) shows more? What would that make me? 😛

  13. I guess you’re a mix, like most people are. Probably the least complicated way to live your life 😉

    The close up picture would make you more a specialist (according to that test). Because you like to see detail!

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