Should You Diversify or Specialize.

Think Wise: Should You Diversify or Specialize?

With the economy beginning to recover, professionals are looking to make strategic moves in their careers. Many are questioning whether it’s time to diversify their career experience in another area or remain where they are, becoming an expert in one, specific sector. It’s a tough question to answer because there are differences, Advantage, and disadvantages to both options…

What It Means to “Specialize”

Specializing in your occupation means that you’ve chosen a very specific area of expertise. For instance, you’re in marketing but you specialize in SEO, email marketing, or content management. Furthermore, specialization means you would be performing in one of these areas of expertise explicitly.

Looking into the future, it’s important to note that specialized workers often become high-level consultants. There are pros and cons to specializing and/or becoming a consultant:

Pros

  • You get higher wages for having specific knowledge.
  • If you specialize enough, you can become a leading expert in demand for satisfying ground-breaking projects or additional work on the side that complements your job.
  • An employee who performs the same task repeatedly by specializing in it is less likely to make a mistake. They are familiar with the pitfalls and issues that a non specialist performing that task would not know. For instance, someone who makes deliveries to the same places every day will know the roads and potential traffic issues better than someone who doesn’t drive that route all the time.
  • A big advantage of specialization is that employees feel certain closeness with others in their department or skill set. It allows for a feeling of “we’re all in this together!” that support morale and, in turn, improves performance. Even if an employee is a lone specialist in what they do, it still brings a feeling of great satisfaction.
  • Training one person to drive a regular route saves money and time in training. Transferring or moving employees from different routes means potentially wasting a lot of resources. The advantage of specialization in a task is that there is a virtual guarantee of not having to expend money to perform the same task over again because the specialist knows it very well.
  • Training one person to drive a regular route saves money and time in training. Transferring or moving employees from different routes means potentially wasting a lot of resources. The advantage of specialization in a task is that there is a virtual guarantee of not having to expend money to perform the same task over again because the specialist knows it very well.

Cons

  • You have less job security if your area of specialty becomes obsolete.
  • Many areas of specialty require a university degree or educational certification of sorts (which is not a problem apart, but might financially  – or otherwise – be a stretch to achieve).
  • If you are too specialized, the company can’t use you for other tasks or jobs, thus decreasing your overall flexibility as an employee.
  • Too much time working at your specific area of specialty can lead to career boredom.
  • If an employee who specializes in a task or procedure is not available when it must be done as soon as possible, then someone who is not as adept at it must take over. A non-specialist performing a specialist’s job can lead to problems. This is a huge disadvantage of specialization. Taking the time to teach a newbie the ropes in an emergency result in a loss of time and money.
  • When employees specialize in just one aspect of the company’s goal they may not feel connected to the whole process, to say nothing of feeling disconnected to co-workers. An innate satisfaction comes from understanding an entire procedure. Specialization can lead to a feeling of isolation, of being divided from the whole. A decline in work ethic is the danger here.
  • Repetitive routine runs the risk of monotony, and boredom often leads to complacency, so much so that mistakes can happen. New tasks and routines engage the brain and body, forcing a concentrated focus. The disadvantage of specialization means taking the chance that complacency could lead to missteps, which can cost the company money and compromise safety.

What It Means to “Diversify”

Choosing diversified roles in your career means that you will “wear many hats” when it comes to the job duties you perform. You might even be considered a “generalist” – i.e. you write web copy, manage content, and more.

If your goal is to move up the corporate ladder, then you’ll want to diversify your skills because leaders generally need to have knowledge in many areas. However, there are also pros and cons to choosing the option to diversify your career.

Pros

  • The more possibilities you have for making income, the less you will feel hard economic times. Then again, if your area of diversification is too vague, you may become too expendable and be the first in line for company layoffs.
  • To be diversifying often means you keep learning new complementary skills. This continues to build a good base of employability, in addition to conquering the long-term boredom factor.
  • Your increased range of employ-ability also means you have greater chances of being employed closer to home than a specialist might. You will save money on transportation and other expenses that a specialist might bear (even with a higher income that might not cover these adjustments).
  • Spreading the risk through different sectors of the economy. It is very important to identify industries in which the business activity slowdown does not coincide with the slowdowns in the main business of the company.
  • In some cases of company acquisition, this diversification can secure funds on hand during a seasonal slowdown, adding to the cash flow for the main business activity.

Cons

  • Employers might not know how best to place you in their organization if your skills are too spread out. They may not view you as dependable or tenacious enough with any one job or skill set to be worth hiring.
  • Without a solid idea of what you do, you may find yourself searching, both for personal identity as well as groping in the dark for what to do next, and for what type of employer you’ll work for next.
  • In many instances the overall performance of the unrelated business activities does not exceed the individual ones. Sometimes it is even worse, unless the managers are exceptionally talented and focused.
  • As a rule, the implementation of unrelated diversification strategy requires allocation of significant financial and human resources and there is always the risk of harming the main company business.
  • Less focused job searches are more difficult to handle.

Important Factors to Consider

So now that you have more information on specializing and diversifying your chosen career path, there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing which option is best for you:

  1. What are your earning goals?
  2. How would you indulge risk in your career?
  3. What is your desire for control over your schedule and work/life balance?
  4. Do you have a wish to lead/manage or do you prefer to be solely responsible for your work?

Think Wise! Think twice!! Of course, the result will surprise!!!

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