Jack Of All Trades, Master of None. Are You?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 2:35 AM GMT
    An old expression, that younger US guys probably don't know. It means you dabble in all kinds of things, but never settle down to master any one.

    My Mother always warned me that would be my fate. She was correct. But along the way I had a great time. I've done a thousand different jobs, most of them fairly well, if I can make the claim. And had adventures (and misadventures) to fill a few books. But I remain a Master of nothing. Just as my Mother predicted. icon_sad.gif

    So how do you evaluate yourself? A Master of something you wanted? Or like me, a "Jack" of lots of things?
  • nice_chap

    Posts: 280

    Jul 31, 2016 9:18 AM GMT
    I admire anyone who can claim to be a jack of all trades. Sure, it's great to have a passion that you dedicate your life to and if you make a successful career of it, then that's amazing, you get to be a shining example to others that have similar career goals. But I certainly don't devalue anyone who doesn't have one particular passion that they want to pursue, and end up focusing their energy on all kinds of different jobs and activities. These people get to have a life and experience all sorts of things and meet all kinds of people and they have lots of stories to tell, and this makes them interesting.

    I failed at making a career out of the subject I thought I was supposed to be good at. And because I had this particular ambition, I had a very narrow minded view growing up, I couldn't see myself making a career of anything else. And it didn't work out for me, so I'm not really a master of anything. I'm a jack of a few things.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 12:49 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said... how do you evaluate yourself? A Master of something...
    there is a YouTube video on everything.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 12:56 PM GMT
    nice_chap saidI admire anyone who can claim to be a jack of all trades. Sure, it's great to have a passion that you dedicate your life to and if you make a successful career of it, then that's amazing, you get to be a shining example to others that have similar career goals. But I certainly don't devalue anyone who doesn't have one particular passion that they want to pursue, and end up focusing their energy on all kinds of different jobs and activities. These people get to have a life and experience all sorts of things and meet all kinds of people and they have lots of stories to tell, and this makes them interesting.

    I failed at making a career out of the subject I thought I was supposed to be good at. And because I had this particular ambition, I had a very narrow minded view growing up, I couldn't see myself making a career of anything else. And it didn't work out for me, so I'm not really a master of anything. I'm a jack of a few things.

    An interesting view I hadn't anticipated. But becoming a Master of a single thing was something I actually feared. Even as a little kid I never wanted to be strapped into doing primarily just one thing for my entire life. And what if, as you seem to be saying about yourself, it doesn't work out?

    And so I kept hesitating, dabbling in many things, until time simply ran out. Fortunately I had family support, which relieved me of the pressure of having to choose quickly or starve. And I always had some small income of my own, even if it's meant at times I've lived at subsistence level.

    I stumbled across the Army, only thing I ever did happily, and perhaps not too badly. But then almost every day was different. Sure I had specific training and a career title, but that didn't stop the Army from assigning me to every kind of unexpected & unrelated job, and locale, that I had never dreamed I'd do or see. I found it fun! And adopted for myself the personal motto of "Thrive where you're planted".

    I'm not sure I'm a Jack of ALL trades, that's just a saying. But I'm pretty handy at almost everything I try. I'm constantly approached by friends & neighbors to fix all kinds of things, solve all kinds of problems for them. People will say: "Give it to Bob, he can always figure it out". Whether it's fixing a kitchen appliance, or a car, or a traffic ticket for them, all things I've done, and much more.

    I like the challenges, and the minor fame I receive from solving them. But also hate the disappointment when I fail to deliver. So that lately, as I'm aging, I'm increasingly reluctant to accept these requests. Unless I can see that it's a "quick kill" I leave more complicated problems to others. Making me more of a Jack of SOME trades, of my own choosing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 1:26 PM GMT
    pellaz said
    Art_Deco said... how do you evaluate yourself? A Master of something...
    there is a YouTube video on everything.

    True, and with instructions most of us can fumble through anything. But to be a MASTER of something you've gotta have some credentials or track record. And maybe you're someone who's MAKING those YouTube videos.

    Merely following what a video shows does not make you a Master of anything. And if that's all any of us could do, pretty soon there wouldn't BE any YouTube videos to follow, because there'd be no one left to make them. Do think that through.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 1:48 PM GMT
    Are you sure you don't have some variant of ADD?

    I'd never want to spend my life becoming an expert in a narrow range of things, it's just not the way my mind works. I often admire those who really do specialise though, especially as having a broad synthesis of skills isn't really valued much in modern society.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 2:02 PM GMT
    PhysicalCity said
    Are you sure you don't have some variant of ADD?

    I'd never want to spend my life becoming an expert in a narrow range of things, it's just not the way my mind works. I often admire those who really do specialise though, especially as having a broad synthesis of skills isn't really valued much in modern society.

    OK, I'm not sure who or what that is directed at.

    My post is a question. What type are you?

    My generation expected us all to specialize, focus on one career field for life. And in the 1950s through the '60s one pretty much could.

    I did not specialize. My Mother saw that, and so she criticized me for possibly becoming a "Jack of all trades, and Master of none". Heretical in that era, but exactly what I did become. Obviously not a Jack of ALL trades, but of quite a few. And definitely a Master of none.

    What are your thoughts on this?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 31, 2016 2:15 PM GMT
    You took that entirely the wrong way mate. I have ADD, and see parallels in both you and others whose lives take similar paths. But anyway never mind.
  • nice_chap

    Posts: 280

    Jul 31, 2016 2:31 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    An interesting view I hadn't anticipated. But becoming a Master of a single thing was something I actually feared. Even as a little kid I never wanted to be strapped into doing primarily just one thing for my entire life. And what if, as you seem to be saying about yourself, it doesn't work out?


    It was actually quite horrible for me. I had to tell myself that I really wasn't that good at the one subject I was supposed to be good at, the subject that I focused on the most at school and always got high marks for, the subject that I got a degree in and kept telling people "this is what i want to do for a living". All my studying really got me was a hobby that people might find interesting, but are not willing to fork out loads of money for it. so i went through an awkward stage of self-pity for a while, dusted myself off and finally got the job I'm in now - retail. there is a high demand for that. I'm not the best shopkeeper in the world, but I work with a team that I get along great with, I get lots of happy customers, and perhaps most importantly I get a steady income and I'm able to have a life - things I didn't have when I was struggling at my initial career choice.

    There was a time i told myself I would never take the job I'm in now or that would be giving up on my dream. But I'm not as narrow minded as i was back then. One day I would like to try again at going for my dream job, but in the mean time i am picking up new skills and stepping out of my comfort zone, and my confidence has been increasing. People say "Don't give up on your dreams" but i say there are times when it's necessary and worth while to shelf your life goals and pursue other things for a time. There are all kinds of rewarding experiences we can find unexpectedly, and it is just so important to have multiple skills and interests to fall back on.

  • Aleco_Graves

    Posts: 708

    Jul 31, 2016 4:09 PM GMT
    I never studied due to my passions in so many fields... Its the curse of beinng a Jack of apl trades - no True calling. But now i earn well and i can gym 5 times a week at a vigin active of my choice, visit art galaries once a month, travel and drink foreign wine, go see plays, dabble in mixology, all whilst now renovating a house with my boyfriend!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2016 4:23 AM GMT
    nice_chap said
    Art_Deco said
    An interesting view I hadn't anticipated. But becoming a Master of a single thing was something I actually feared. Even as a little kid I never wanted to be strapped into doing primarily just one thing for my entire life. And what if, as you seem to be saying about yourself, it doesn't work out?

    It was actually quite horrible for me. I had to tell myself that I really wasn't that good at the one subject I was supposed to be good at, the subject that I focused on the most at school and always got high marks for, the subject that I got a degree in and kept telling people "this is what i want to do for a living". All my studying really got me was a hobby that people might find interesting, but are not willing to fork out loads of money for it. so i went through an awkward stage of self-pity for a while, dusted myself off and finally got the job I'm in now - retail. there is a high demand for that. I'm not the best shopkeeper in the world, but I work with a team that I get along great with, I get lots of happy customers, and perhaps most importantly I get a steady income and I'm able to have a life - things I didn't have when I was struggling at my initial career choice.

    I'm sorry to learn that was "horrible" for you. I'm glad you're happier now.

    Some time, when I have the guts, I may share why i turned my back on a future as an architect. And how I landed as a dumb-ass Army Private during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. But I suppose it had a happy ending. The "what-ifs" in our lives can kill us, if we're not careful.
  • nice_chap

    Posts: 280

    Aug 02, 2016 10:14 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said

    Some time, when I have the guts, I may share why i turned my back on a future as an architect. And how I landed as a dumb-ass Army Private during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. But I suppose it had a happy ending. The "what-ifs" in our lives can kill us, if we're not careful.


    That's like me saying I quit my career in art and design to become a dumb-ass shopkeeper, which was my fear for a long time. Of course, my job is pretty damn mundane compared to your army experiences where you got to travel a lot and see the world! icon_biggrin.gif But I have overcome my prejudice towards working a mundane job where I don't do anything creative and have to put up with shit from awkward customers. It's character building, and I am doing something constructive with my time. My manager is an interesting guy as well, I get along well with him and I have a lot of respect and admiration for him, and that makes it worth any hassle I get from the job. Whatever I go through, he has been through worse, and handled it with grace and not let it turn him into a grumpy manager who takes his frustration out on his subordinates. Having good people to work with makes any job more likable.

    Being a struggling artist certainly wasn't character building. It meant me spending a lot of time in front of my computer working on a portfolio that got ignored, and updating a CV that got rejected a thousand times. I had some clients that threw work my way, but I didn't get much interaction with them beyond exchanging emails and phone calls. I never got to be part of a team. The most horrible part for me, though, was feeling that this talent I had been born with and nurturing throughout my schooling life that was supposed to provide a future for me, had lead me to failure, and that I had let myself down and my family. then I started feeling that I wasn't strong enough to make it in the world because I couldn't make an impression on anyone. I've overcome that now. It's not the end of the world if you don't make it in a certain career.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2016 4:17 PM GMT
    I am on the other side of the spectrum ..lol..
    I have been working in the same field since 1976 and only have worked for 2 different employers ...lol...
    I like my routine and are a very committed kind of bloke , some find it boring , other reassuring ...