I am a generalist. I know a little bit about a lot of things, and excruciating as it is, I love the process of learning a little bit about new things that I don’t know anything about. I say excruciating because much as I enjoy it, I actually find the process to be quite painful. Wrapping my head around something new really feels literal at times – lime by brain is physically trying to move and make space for this new and exciting item. No wonder I’m a kinetic/tactile learner!
However, or perhaps just for this reason, I have a deep and profound respect for those persons who dig deep into the essence of things, who drill down and understand the underlying purpose and the itsy bitsy details of a specific area. When working with the CFS12, I was in a team of 20-something engineers, of which many clearly can be defined as specialists. I was continuously amazed by their conversations and discussions. The level of attention to detail, the in-depth understanding, the interest in always understanding more… Yet, at a certain point they always lost me – yes in part because I do not share the same basic educational platform and left physics behind 10 years ago – but also because as soon as I have understood the general principle behind something, I feel satisfied. I do not have to actually understand how it works, I just have to have a gut feeling about the concept. Then I am happy, my curiosity is fed and I go on to asking about the next thing I don’t have a clue about.
Now, my musings will not go down the line of “we need diverse skills for this world to bladibla”. My question is this: I really identify as a geek. However, the google definition of geek is “an unfashionable and socially inept person” and “a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular subject”. Now, for the former – check. For being extrovert, outgoing and (from what I hear) easy to like, I am completely socially inept. I have been practicing my smalltalk and mingle, but it’s freakin’ painful, I tell ya!
As for the latter… I could say this: “I have an eccentric devotion to doing new things” – so if the concept of doing new things falls into the definition of “a particular concept”, then yes indeed baby, I am a geek.
On the other hand… I am a firm believer in self-identification. I can be whatever the heck I want to be, without having to explain myself. I am a geek-at-large, how bout that?