Jack of all trades, master of some

I’ve come to a bit of a realisation. For most of us, specialism is dead.

I’m talking in a work sense here, rather than anything else, although I do wonder if the same principles apply. Sure, some roles will always be very specific. I mean, you don’t want to be operated on by someone who ‘dips in and out’ of being a surgeon. But in the fast paced world we are now living in, even those with a specific craft or skill will need to adapt quickly to ever-changing scenarios.

For the rest of us, everything is now fluid. Core skills (literacy, numeracy etc) will probably always be required at the heart of most roles. But now there are other important skills that need to be brought to the workplace: flexibility, innovation, creativity, persuasion and a learning mindset. It can be bewildering, but I also realised something great:

For those of us who have never wanted one of those very specific, narrowly defined roles, this is the best time to be in the workforce.

Because there will always be something new to jump into, if you see the opportunity and take it. I have an English degree and my masters was studying Critical Theory. Strangely, neither of them appear at all applicable to any of the jobs I have held, yet they have been the foundation of everything. Communication and appraising a scenario, seeing a problem and defining a resolution is a great thing to be able to do. And, if you’re prepared to learn a little code here, a little statistics there, then top it up with a hefty dose of project management, you can play the game in just about any industry.

Being a Jack of all trades is no longer a bad thing.

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