Why You Should Aim to Be a Jack Of All Trades

October 30th, 2018

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The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” has been spouted for centuries. In fact, it was first coined in its entirety in the mid-18th century, a time when it was necessary for people to be specialists in their field ~ offering a specific good or service that could benefit the community. But as times have changed, so has our ability as a culture to explore a greater variety of interests. So perhaps we should reframe our perspective on this concept. Being a Jack Of All Trades does not mean that you’re mediocre, quite the opposite actually. In a standard card deck the Jack is in the top-4 most powerful cards. Therefore, while this type of person isn’t necessarily a specialist, they are a well-rounded and competent individual. This aspect is incredibly useful today ~ with the rise of smaller, start-up companies, it pays to have employees that can cover several areas effectively and efficiently. And while juggling multiple tasks can lead to potential burnout and loss of focus, if you’re able to balance your varied interests, being a Jack can actually pay off in the long run. Need more proof? Read on for reasons why being a Jack Of All Trades serves you on a professional level, and how to best embrace this outlook on life.   You’re Versatile Having a wide range of interests and abilities is a major motivator when it comes to the hiring process. While certain professions (such as cancer researcher) require a specific area of expertise, most careers benefit from a well-rounded skill set ~ especially positions that rely heavily on interpersonal communication. In this case, being a Jack allows you to relate more easily to your team, clients, and even superiors. Likewise, your ability to wear multiple hats within a company makes you more adaptable. This is particularly helpful when it comes to smaller organizations and start-ups, who seek employees that are able to effectively work within several areas of the company, since they are unable to recruit a larger team.   You’re a Student of Life On a more personal sense, being a Jack Of All Trades can be incredibly fulfilling. While specialists hone in on one specific topic to the point of mastery, Jacks are able to hold a much broader outlook. You have the freedom to pursue multiple interests, which lends to a greater sense of creativity in your work. By remaining curious about both your field and the world around you, you’re able to effectively bypass any ruts associated with stagnancy. Likewise, this approach allows you to become an incredible student. It’s not that you simply retain information, but you’ve honed how to most effectively learn ~ which will only continue to serve you over the course of your personal and professional life.   You’re an Amazing Leader Leadership is most effective when a supervisor is able to relate to their team. They have a general sense of all the positions they are guiding, without necessarily needing to be an expert in each field. Good management often comes down to two steps: hiring capable employees, and then getting out of their way. For example, a CEO of a large tech organization does not have to be the world’s greatest programmer. Rather, that leader will possess a diversified skill set and outlook to understand what qualities are needed from their programmers and how to best guide them in their process. So when it comes to rising into areas of leadership, Jacks are some of the best candidates. Their wide range of knowledge allows them to support specialists in their work, and ultimately achieve the best possible outcome for the team as a whole.