Sunday, May 31, 2009

On Disclosure

I hope you had a good May, since I clearly wasn't around here for most of it. Since I came dangerously close to letting the whole month go by with only one blog post, I decided that I should do something today in order to salvage it at least a little bit.

I want to talk a little bit about disclosure and what I do, since I haven't made any official statements about it before now. So, here it is:

-- I won't identify any companies I currently work for or have worked for in the past on this blog. If you really want to know, contact me by email or track me down using another method (I'm not too hard to find).

-- I also will not identify any consulting firms, staffing agencies, or other organizations that have placed me or that have had me do work for their clients. Again, I will discuss this with you in private, and am willing to share my experiences, but not in public here on the blog.

The privacy of those who employ me and their clients is very important to me and I will respect it. Now, that is not to say I will not ever mention these organizations, just that if I do so, it will not be regarding anything that affects or involves me. If my policy ever changes, I will post a notice to that effect.

Now, back to talking about being a Hired Mind. See you in July!

No, just kidding. I'll actually post some things this month, and I have a number of topics already in the pipeline.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Specialization is for Insects

If you're a fan of science fiction (like me), you've probably heard of Robert A. Heinlein. Even if you're not, I think the following quote is an excellent summation of the need to be well-rounded:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

I don't actually think he meant this literally, of course. It's very unlikely that someone would have all of those skills. However, the underlying argument -- that a person should know how to do as many things as possible and not limit themselves to one narrow niche -- is very sound. You never know when having a skill will help you take advantage of an opportunity that otherwise might not be there. This doesn't mean you should flit about from one discipline to another, being a Jack (or Jill) of all trades and master of none. But when you have the opportunity to learn something new, take advanatge of it.