Tim Ferriss (author of the Four Hour Work Week) adds his voice to the growing chorus regarding people who have multiple interests, careers and areas of expertise, as opposed to specialists.
I struggled with this label all my life as family members and friends would inquire, “what is Donna doing now?” Early on I had decided I wanted to be a new-fashioned Renaissance woman, and at the same time envied (only slightly) people who were complete uni-focused. It seemed so much easier.
Nonetheless, I was compelled to change jobs and careers every three years, or when I went out on my own, to change businesses or the focus of my business just as frequently when boredom crept in. I continued to read, study, and take on new challenges…creating my own renaissance identity. For me, when I became a professional Coach, all those paths converged and combined, and now I often work with people who have taken a jack-of-all-trades path and are looking for the next one, or for a way to blend or monetize all their experiences and expertise.
In his blog, Tim relates his top five reasons to be a Jack (orJill) of all trades and he points out, quite accurately I believe, that it’s often “the generalist who ends up running the show.” In fact, quite often even if they didn’t start out that way, people who run companies must learn to become generalists since it takes a wide range of abilities, talents and skills to manage people, run the company, know what you don’t know so you can hire the people who do, etc. etc. etc.
So if you’re a Jack or Jill of all trades, revel in it and embrace it. The world needs more of us. They just don’t realize it yet.