Jack of All Trades!

My Husband, Jacob, worked for many years on different Open Source software projects and as a technical writer. He decided a few years ago to go back to school to finish his Bachelors Degree. He chose to focus on business (and consequently found a love for economics) so that he could combine his desire to be an entrepreneur with his love of technology. However, now that he is close to graduating and looking for a job, Jacob is finding it difficult to create a resume as he does not fit in a box.

Jacob is a Jack of all trades, and as he sees it a master of none.

He loves learning new languages. He enjoys “nerdy” games. He loves software stuff (I don’t understand all that he does with programming and technical writing.) He loves to ballroom dance (so do I! It is so romantic and fun!) He likes structure and yet to have the freedom to change things up. To work efficiently, yet at his own pace.

Jack of all trades, master of none” is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills, but spends so much time learning each new skill that they can not become an expert in any particular one. The earliest recorded versions of the phrase do not contain the second part. Indeed, they are broadly positive in tone. Such a Jack of all trades may be a master of integration, as such an individual knows enough from many learned trades and skills to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner. This person is a generalist rather than a specialist. -Wikipedia

Who decided to add the master of none to the end? Who decided to turn this positive phrase into a negative one?

I personally believe that this was added during the industrial revolution when factories needed workers to be skilled at one task.  They didn’t care if you could make a whole dress, they needed specialists to work on their assembly lines to make more faster.

We are no longer training people to become factory workers, so why do our schools still teach and train people to become factory thinkers? Specialists?

I always felt different in school. I wanted to learn by doing, not by being stuck at a desk. I still don’t appreciate “formal education” the same way I appreciate learning as I go. Asking for help from people who have done it before and want to share there wisdom. But then again everyone learns differently, so maybe for you school was great.

I, like my husband, am a jack  of all trades, a generalist. Yet I think of it positively. I am an actress, singer, dancer, painter, cake decorator, cook (I even cook and bake grain-free now due to allergies), sewer, movie watcher, reader etc. I say etc. because who knows what will be next. (These are some of the hobbies and talents I will focus on in this blog.) I don’t want to be put in a box of what I should be as a mother, an artist, a woman. I am me.

Being a jack of all trades helps me to understood both sides of an argument, as I can see both sides through things I do or care about. Art and Science. Nutrition and Modern Medicine. Republicans and Democrats. I can be religious and still see that other people aren’t (and that is their choice, therefore okay.)

I want to encourage learning different topics. Go for it! Try what you have always wanted to try! Branch out! Build yourself up! Become more! Multiply your talents!

I want to make the phrase Jack of All Trades a positive idea once again.


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