How generalists fill out the job function field

If you are a generalist, you probably wear lots of hats for your job—and you love it. Granted, it can have its days where your head has to be in lots of places. But isn’t that fun? I absolutely enjoy being able to fulfill a variety of roles. It keeps me constantly learning.

I like to think that I’m a Generalist Specialist. That is, I like to dig deep into specific areas. When i’m learning something, I like to figure out how it works. That’s a bit like a Specialist. Do this deep learning in lots of areas, and you are now a Generalist Specialist.

Being a Generalist can be tricky sometimes when trying to describe yourself. For instance, I’m filling out a form for a WP Engine’s annual conference. (WP Engine is one of the biggest WordPress hosting companies). This year the conference will be virtual and free!

The signup form for the conference asks for “Job Function (select one)”.

Screenshot of registration form for WP Engine US Summit 2020

I love how it specifically says “select one”. Perhaps people who use WP Engine tend to be generalists.

The options are:

  • Development
  • Marketing
  • Design
  • SysAdmin/IT
  • Public Relations
  • Finance
  • Project Management

I’m like, uh, can I pick the first four?

  • Development: Yeah, I do that. I’ve built WordPress sites for Amazon, Samsung, and Tribune Publishing. Especially with backends using custom post types, and custom XML templates. I’ve enhanced the WordPress REST API by securing it with JSON Web Token authentication, and the inclusion of custom field elements. I set up ingesters to automatically import RSS and JSON feeds. I’ve written a custom plug-in to parse and clean up the the data from these feeds.
  • Marketing: Yup, I’ve done that for 20 years.
  • Design: Definitely. My strongest area. I graduated college with an emphasis in graphic design. Lately I’ve been doing UI/UX work for Tribune.
  • SysAdmin/IT: I’ve done this from time to time. Thankfully, WP Engine takes care of a lot of the SysAdmin stuff for me. But I’ve had to tend to wonky hosting servers in the past.

For this particular form, I picked “Development”, because this is a WP Engine conference. If this was an Adobe conference, i would have selected “Design.”

Another fun point

The signup form has a notes field, which is curious. What would someone write in there? You are just registering for an online conference.

OH I KNOW. Someone could write a note how the day of the conference, June 10th, is Ball Point Pen Day and Iced Tea Day!

The day of this online conference, June 10th, is also Ball Point Pen Day. That's kinda fun. Maybe while I watch the seminars, I'll take notes with a ball point pen. June 10th is also Iced Tea Day. I hope everyone enjoys a nice iced tea beverage during the conference. Cheers!

I suppose a note like that would come from a Generalist. 🙂

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