Last week I put a call out for new words to describe those of us who are non-specialists, with the condition that they be neither overly self aggrandizing nor overly disparaging. I received lots of knowing responses from fellow non-specialists who, consciously or not, have been grasping for the same thing, a dignified and accurate way to describe themselves to others.
I also received some suggestions for things to call ourselves (as well as acknowledgement of some words we currently have that don’t quite work). In no particular order:
Generalist (doesn’t cut it); (a variant of) Superconnector; Expert Generalist; KORG (means synthesizer); Synthethete (impossible to say); Polymath (too close to prodigy & limiting in its grandeur); Renaissance Woman (or man); Possibilitist; Cross-function, Cross-industry Insight Catalyst, Cockroach (as in we’re the cockroaches—we’re resourceful and we’ll be the ones left standing after the zombie apocalypse, great imagery but definitely not a viable word option).
Fun fact: I also learned the complete form of the phrase "Jack of all Trades, Master of none." The rest is: "Though often times better, than a master of one.”
Together we reinforced that non-specialists are hard to describe. The same way you can’t pin us down to a specific job title or skill set, there is no word (yet) to truly describe and do justice to what we do and the value we bring to where we apply ourselves.
The ideal non-specialist word has 3 qualities: