The CASE FOR The Jack of Many Trades
Does any of this sound familiar? You are asked WHAT YOU DO and you have to rattle off a LIST as your answer?
You have SO many Interests and Talents in many arenas and can’t imagine narrowing it to one, but have well intending friends and relatives reminding you that you don’t want to become “a jack of all trades a master of none.”?
I have struggled with my multi-faceted ness for many years. My attempts to focus my energies and professional efforts have resulted in me narrowing down to only 4 jobs in 3 fields. 🙂 Those of us in this situation oscillate between lamenting and celebrating our multi-directionality. Many good things can be said for prioritizing and focusing, but many other good things can be said for diversifying. In fact, in lieu of the unstable job market, I have recently become very happy that I have 4 resumes instead of one. This gives me a flexibility and versatility that those with one resume just don’t have.
Since you are likely tired of the speeches about choosing and mastering one trade,
I will hold up the other side of the argument;
Why it is good to be a Jack of Many Trades:
1.) It is more amusing. The same same day in and day out can get very boring. Having variety of activities is more interesting and engaging, and often more fun.
2.) You are more interesting at a dinner party. You have more to talk about and the more things you do, the more chance there is you will find a point of interest or common ground with many people.
3.) If you lose your job or move to a new place you have more skill sets to offer and can respond to more opportunities in more fields. (plus you would be much more of an asset on a deserted island)
4.) You feel more whole by feeding the different parts of yourself.
5.) You have multiple intelligences. Each trade comes with its own challenges and assets that lead to particular personal development. You work more physical and mental muscles by cultivating multiple skill sets.
I will end this post with A Wish:
May we forget about trying to squeeze our beautifully organic many-branched-tree-of-a-self into a straight line! May we celebrate having diverse interests and skills and balance it with Focus so that we can transcend dabbling and really manifest work that is worthwhile!