V is for Versatility

I bet that you thought that V was going to be for ‘vegans’ after recent posts, didn’t you?

One of the key things about my professional life has been that I have worked in a number of different industries and that has meant that I am learning new things all the time and having to adapt to new environments, learn new sets of lingo, etc.  The up side to that has been that I have become quite versatile.

Since I’ve worked in a number of smaller offices, I’ve often needed to take on roles that were beyond the scope of things normally assigned to an Administrative Support sort of person. Many times it was being ‘tech support’ when things went wrong in the office (Why isn’t the printer printing? Why is the copier churning out things with lines all over the page where there shouldn’t be lines?)  Often it was doing things like composing emails that were supposed to be written in the ‘voice’ of a senior executive. Many times it was adding bits of ‘flair’ to otherwise pretty ‘dry’ presentation topics.

So, I know how to install computer hardware and how to disassemble and clean an espresso machine and how to handle project management and I’ve done more than my share of cat herding. And, for the most part, I am grateful for having the experience. (Washing dishes for engineers was not exactly the highlight of my career…seriously, WASH YOUR OWN COFFEE CUPS, people).

Trying to convince people that versatility is a good thing is harder than you might think. So many times people ask ‘well, what industry to do you want to work in?’ and industry just really isn’t something I focus on. I’ve learned something from every place I’ve worked and I feel that, for the most part, I am better for the experience. And I understand the value of being a specialist, but I think that there is a lot to be said for having a very broad base of experience, as well.

If given the opportunity, expand your horizons. You might find something you love hidden somewhere unexpected.