By Annie Papadellis
I don’t know everything. Yes. I said it. Sounds awful, right? It’s exactly what we’re not supposed to admit. But here’s the thing– I’m not afraid to ask questions.
All the time, we’re told to be a “T-shaped individual.” This glamorous “Master Generalist” who is versatile in every way. It’s preached so often, it feels like a religion:
Thou shall not be I-shaped.
Thou shall not be versed in only one specific area of expertise.
But what isn’t preached enough is how to become that T-shaped individual. We’re constantly told to know a lot about everything. Told to have empathy, knowledge, and understanding across multiple disciplines. But have we become so obsessed with becoming this know-it-all we’ve forgotten to keep an open-mind?
The very essence of being a T-shaped individual is to have a diverse lens on any situation. But I feel we’ve become too scared to ask the necessary questions to be T-shaped for the fear of coming across like we don’t already know everything.
So, my two-cents:
Whether it’s big or small, don’t hesitate to ask questions. And lots of them. I’ve found that smart people (the ones you’ll actually want to work with) will help you.
Terminology and technology is ever evolving. Be smart at what you do. Be smart and never stop asking questions.
So if it’s all about questions. I think I’d rather be “Q-shaped.” Open to the world around me, with a line to diverge.