At least I am preparing for an Apocalypse!
People often say that you gotta be a hellish perfect guy in the field of your work (or study, or play. It is all the same) if you want to be someone. Someone here indicates one who has earned respect, wealth and in some cases fame. A well worn
cliché dialogue succeeds, or precedes, this kind of a conversation and which goes like(surprise surprise),
"Jack of all trades, master of
Well, good for you, sensible serious people. Not for me but, no thanks. You see, I've been always reminded by a lot many people with not much lesser of a zeal than of those credit card sales people about how sticking to just one speciality and focusing on that full time without indulging in other distraction would be the way to go career wise. And how if I travelled on two boats alongside, I am going to have a torn set of pants and a sore crotch. To this I ask, rather want to ask, what if I want to travel in three boats simultaneously? What if I want to be a book critic, a house painter and a dancer at the same time? Can't I do that? Between, if you are thinking, I can do none of these, but suppose if I did, then?
Anyway, not getting sidetracked, I have been subjected to such earnest suggestions and queries much often in the past. And sure enough, I did try to focus on being a master of one, a lot many times. The only problem always was, there wasn't a 'one' which I could choose to be the master of. A master, with that enslaved subject under my command. A one which I would summon the services of at the snap of my fingers. I am not joking really, I did believe in this theory for some time, I would ponder over the seriousness of something as seriously serious as career and something which was a necessity in this new world of specialities and masters and specifics. I've had my mind in splits as a result of this almost blasphemous act of having not decided/narrowed down a specific defined goal from early on.
I've had sleepless nights balancing pros and cons of one thing or the other that I could do. Doing difficult calculations, as they were to me, taking in parameters like 'field of study', 'interests', 'dreams', 'pay-scale', 'competition' and most noticeably something which has always made me laugh out, 'market', apart from a dozen or so other things which included personal life considerations. Doing that exercise was exhausting and results of which of course, were hazy. I know how it can be as easy a thing for many people to choose a career path and then have their focus devoted to just that as maybe choosing a suit/dress to wear to a party. That once you decide on it, you've made your decision and all the rest of the suits/dresses and accessories to go with those, take a back seat. But it wasn't the case with me bro, never happened with me. But what did/do I do then for the remedy of it. The solution.
The solution was/is pretty simple actually, it was there all along in front of me. It was the realisation and then acceptance of who I am. If I find too many things interesting and worth pursuing, career wise or otherwise, then it simply is there. It can't be changed. Changing something which is inherently a part of you is anyway not the best of ideas. Nobody, absolutely nobody is an exception to the fact that one needs time and personal effort in order to be able to do something even acceptably good. Mastering something needs, of course tremendously more time and effort. And yes, one benefits from it. But. Should everyone try and be a master of one particular thing and forget the rest? And should those who aren't being or trying to be, keep feeling apologetic and bad?
Well, no. I for one know now that it is actually better to be a jack of all trades than be the master of just one. Why? Because first of all, there is no such thing as jack of all trades and master of none. Most of the time, it is jack of all trades and master of at least one, or, if not that, then jack of all trades and good at some. Which is a perfectly cool position to have. Cooler than of those who don't know a thing apart from that one mastery they are known for. And by all trades, I don't mean the basic knowledge about daily life. I don't mean a little plumbing, handling small electrical jobs, gardening, repairing your kids' toys etc. I mean things which require a little study and effort/energy/time to be able to do them. Like making/building your own bed/chair, fixing your motorbike, composing a song, preparing a four course meal, managing a summer camp, coding your own website etc. Basically anything at a level good enough that it could with some effort someday replace your current work if you wanted it to. Okay maybe not that level in each case, but you get the point. And the benefits of being a jack of all trades over someone who is not, are many. Lemme just point out some of them.
- You know about many things other than your core trade and which is very exciting and satisfying(in the knowledge sense).
- You get a wider perspective on how the world works and how your work is related to other different stuff. You see things differently and more acceptingly.
- It makes you confident and a whole lot happier still when people acknowledge your talents in other fields.
- Knowledge is infectious and addictive. You want to explore more things and inspire, in turn, other people as well to explore the unknown lands.
- Being jack of all trades makes it more plausible for you to have that core trade from the things you actually like.
- People generally, are more receptive of those who are jack of all trades than those who are opposite, which indicates that it affects your personality too(for good I guess)
- Surprisingly for some people, jack of all trades are better problem solvers and planners and managers than those otherwise(not trying to boast). A skill well needed today in any sort of work.
- Being jack of all trades, one can adapt easily. Which means more opportunities(in more than one meaning of the word)
- If ever there is an apocalypse, I bet the jack of all trades will have a better chance at surviving the aftermath than the others.
These are just some of the pros of being a jack of all trades and I am not going to point out the cons because you have had enough of the cons being pointed out already so let's give them a break.
All this comes from my realisation and acceptance that I am actually a jack of some trades (all is too misleading) and I am proud of being one. I am surviving in this world of mastery and it is not like how people say it is. Many people still won't agree with what I said above and would refute all those points. But even if nothing else, let's say for the sake of saying, the last point holds true. By being a jack of
all some trades, at least I am preparing for an apocalypse!
Note: Picture from Google.
Note: Picture from Google.