Getting Ahead At Work: Are You A Hammer Or A Swiss Army Knife?
Everyone wants a little job security these days, and if a promotion comes our way—that's even better. That's why it's important to become a better employee. But the kind of employee you are also matters.
Are you the very best at just one specific thing? That would make you a hammer.
Or are you the versatile kind that can do lots of different things pretty well? You, my friend, are a swiss-army knife.
The hammer is powerful and everyone needs one. When you need to hang up a picture or put something together, it's hammer time. These are essential—the first tool I ever owned was a hammer.
The problem with being a hammer is that it can't tighten a screw or take apart your computer (unless you're going to destroy it). Sure, it's valuable, but it doesn't have any versatility.
The Swiss Army Knife
Most people have one of these too—if you're going out camping or into any unkown situation, you'll probably want your trusty swiss-army knife. Why? Because you never know what you're going to need and these bad boys can pretty much do anything.
Except for hammer a nail into the wall. While they're very versatile and do lots of things well, they don't do one specific thing better than any other tool. Its value lies in its versatility.
Which One Are You?
The ideal worker does lots of things and does them all incredibly well. But well-rounded people like that are very rare. Most of us fall into one of these two categories, and I'm curious which one is more valuable.
Do you have more job security if you can help out in several different ways at work? It's kind of like diversifying your investments—being versatile can protect you from getting laid off better than someone that can only do one thing. It won't matter how good of a hammer you are if your company needs a screwdriver.
But won't a hammer get promoted more often? Won't it get paid more money? Isn't that what specialized skills are all about? If you are the very best at something, even if that's all you can do, that counts for a lot.
Either way, knowing which one of the two you are is a great start. Once you realize you're a hammer, then try to become better at other things and chip in where you can. If you're a swiss-army knife, pick one of your talents and try to develop it as much as you can. With a swiss-army knife and a hammer, you can pretty much do anything you want.