Jack of All Trades, Master of None was a phrase my father used quite often when I was growing up. What he meant was that he didn’t have a big, fancy college degree; he didn’t even have a high school diploma. What he had was a lifetime of experience learning to do whatever was necessary to survive.
I remember a story my dad told me about when he was growing up in the county orphanage. His father had died when he was two and his mother when he was nine and his step father placed him in the orphanage soon after. In an orphanage every child had a chore to do. That’s how they earned their keep. My father’s job at the age of ten was washing dishes. He was too small to do any of the bigger work that most of the boys did. One day a man came into the kitchen and asked if anyone knew how to operate a certain piece of farm machinery. “I do,” my dad chimed in. My father didn’t know one thing about that piece of machinery. What he did know was that he was not going to be stuck in the kitchen another day.
We live in a challenging employment environment. There are articles that abound with advice about how to survive in today’s employment situation. The advice can range from encouraging to down-right depressing but also confusing as one tries to sort it out. Should you specialize or should you vary your expertise? How should you market yourself? Each person must answer these questions for themselves and the answers may change as their circumstances change. In my personal experience though, a person who is a Jack of All trades may not have a high power career, but they will always be employable.