Master of None: Operations Generalist
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
Speaking bluntly, an operations generalist is a master of none, or, as Chloe Roloson put it, a jack of all trades. Someone in operations is smart and thinks on their feet, but does not work in one specialized skill. Rather they work hard at everything for the ultimate success of the company. They are kind of like a human Swiss Army knife.
The personality best suited for this is, (but is not limited to), someone who enjoys planning and organization. They are invested in the outcome of the business they work with. The role is also best suited for someone who is flexible and adaptive. The company's needs will change as it grows, and someone in operations must grow with the company.
To be successful you must be invested in the business. Because this role varies widely, not every job that needs to be done is glamorous. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Doing grunt work can make one feel alienated from their work, and that's why the connection to the business is so important. If you're asked to do a small task, it's easy to feel devalued, as if the boss is saying that's all you have to offer. But you have to be able to look at the bigger picture. Every little task you help with furthers the company towards its goal. It's much easier to do if you really believe in the company and would do anything for it.
Some in operations have to greatly concern themselves with company success. They observe why the business is succeeding or failing, and learn from it. Since the actual role of operations is largely dependent on the company, it broadens the options of what one can do. You don't have to narrow yourself down to one particular role. You can work for a business you care about, working creatively and proactively.
Thus far, I have learned that to be successful in operations, it boils down to five things: being invested in the company's success, staying motivated in the face of adversity, maintaining a willingness to learn, being adaptive to change, and losing any sense of entitlement.