Be Your Best Jack (Or Jackie) Of All Trades!

Written by Stephanie

October 3, 2022

‘To do or not to do, that is the question’. Okay, we know that’s not exactly how Shakespeare’s famous quote went in Hamlet, but you get the idea! Making decisions in life can be challenging, even daunting. That can include when deciding what next to learn or what new skill to acquire.


Now, you may think that being a specialist in something is the best way forward. We certainly live in a world where there’s a ‘specialist’ for everything, right! However, have you considered that being a generalist may actually be a good idea?


You’ve probably heard of the saying, “A Jack of all trades is a master of none.” Well, we’d like to suggest that being your best Jack (or Jackie, of course!) of all trades may in fact be an excellent idea for your learning journey. Read on to see why and how!

Is Is True About ‘Being A Jack Of All Trades’?

According to Collins Dictionary, referring to someone as a jack-of-all-trades means they can do a lot of different things. It also means they’re not that good at any of them! But is that a fair assumption? Not at all.


For one thing, the popular saying is actually not the correct one. Dating back to 1721, the correct saying is in fact, “A Jack of all trades is a master of none, but often times better than a master of one”. What is today a put-down was indeed a compliment back then. Just shows you what can happen to a quote that is three centuries old!


The saying has gotten a bad rap because the connotation was that being able to do many things meant you couldn’t be that good at any. Makes sense, right? Not quite. What the saying actually means is that knowing a lot of different things can still be better than simply knowing one thing exceptionally well.


Consider the car mechanic who knows about all different types of cars but is an expert in none of them. Does it necessarily follow that they will always be at a disadvantage to the car mechanic who is only an expert in electric vehicles? Not necessarily. For example, the generalist car mechanic may find it easier to find work, given that he knows the basics about many different types of cars.

When Being A Generalist Works Well

So, when is it actually better to be a generalist, rather than a specialist? In the world of work, it depends very much on the type of job and the type of organisation. Just know this: Bill Gates himself said that the success of Microsoft was due to it being an organisation filled with generalists, i.e. Jacks and Jackies of all trades!


Jen Lee, who works in HR and Talent Research at Microsoft, discusses how  generalists perform better when some knowledge or experience in all aspects of work is required. Professions as diverse as maintenance work and real estate sales fall into this category. Specialists do better where highly specific work is required, such as software development and some freelance work.


Another interesting twist on the ‘generalist versus specialist’ debate is that generalists tend to be far more flexible and able to adapt to dramatic career shifts. We’ve just come through a major global pandemic, and the world of work has seen major upheaval, known as the ‘Great Reshuffle’. It’s logical that those with wider skills sets were able to adapt more easily to dramatic changes in the working world.

Know How To Use SEO

So, you’re sold now on the idea of being a Jack or Jackie of all trades! You get it –

being a generalist can be very good. But perhaps you don’t want to climb the corporate ladder and just want to gain new skills. You still need to get ideas on what you’d like to learn and doing so on online can be overwhelming. That’s why you need to know more about search engine optimisation (SEO).


SEO is about how to maximize a search engine’s organic results based on algorithms, keywords and other tricks. But SEO is not only for websites and those who want to promote themselves online.You too can make the most of your searches with SEO. You may just get ideas of learning new skills you hadn’t even thought of!

You need to make your query as specific as possible. There are some nifty tricks you can use to get the best search possible to get ideas on what you want to learn. One example is using quotations (“ ”) to make your search as precise as possible. So, typing in “manual skills learning” will get you better results than merely typing manual skills learning without quotes.

Broaden Your Skills - And Horizons!

Yes, knowing what you want and need to learn can indeed be a process. We’re not always 100% sure about what new skills we’d like to know. But having a ‘bouquet’ of skills certainly makes sense.


Now imagine having a single, secure place that allows you to explore a multitude of learning options. You can decide whether to finally learn how to play guitar or how to hone your pottery skills, or both! A dynamic learning platform such as Yip may just be what you need! Becoming a Yipee means having a whole world of learning open to you.


Remember, being a Jack of all trades makes a lot of sense. In a world that is in such a state of flux, it pays to be versatile, adaptable and flexible. Being multi-skilled gives you more options – it should also make life a lot more interesting!


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