A proud Jack of all trades
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”This is the typical question asked of us when we were kids, giving us the impression that we need to focus on only one job when we get older; and as expected, this is what happens to many of us.
We grow up and become what we envisioned ourselves to be—doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, artists, et cetera. And there are also those who rebel and do the opposite of what’s expected of them—they do this, they do that, they do a little bit of everything. Often they are called the “Jack of all trades.”
There is no doubt that it feels good every time people compliment us for being good at everything .“Wow! You’ re so multi skilled !”“How can I be like you?”It feels great every time we are seen as somebody who can do a lot of things and knows a lot of things. But most of the time, it comes with a price.
We can’t avoid it. There are some people who look down on the well-rounded. To them, we’re known as the “Jack of all trades but a master of none,” implying that we’re not good at doing a specialized task. We then doubt and question ourselves: “Am I really good enough?” Yes, you are good enough. Being multi-skilled is a gift, and never doubt that. It will be overwhelming at first, but as you continue the journey to self-discovery and finally know what you want, then being a Jack of all trades is absolutely fine. We can’t blame these people for looking down on us, so in a way it is also constructive feedback for us to assess what we really want to accomplish in life.
Growing up, I always wanted to become a national athlete. That’s all I ever wanted to do. I was part of the school’s track and field varsity that competed in local and national competitions. That was my dream. But when I had my appendectomy and was not allowed to run for some time, I was forced to withdraw from the varsity team. I felt bad thinking I would never achieve my dream of representing the country. So I had to do something else.
I explored my other interests and was brought to the arts. Since then, I have dabbled in anything—theater, TV, film, creative writing and other artistic endeavors as I bid goodbye to my dream of becoming a national athlete. I was left with no choice but to take another direction. When I graduated from college, I worked as a writer despite my doubts if I was really good at writing. There were so many things going on in my head that my close friend (who was also my devil’s advocate) had to ask: “So, what is it that you really want to do? You’re good at things, but where is your focus? You’re such a scatterbrain.” I felt really bad at that point in my life.
In my journey to rediscovering myself years ago, I met a lot of Jack of all trades. Some are still in the process of discovering themselves, and there are some who are already successful individuals. I have a friend who is good at a lot of things, too, from table set-up to dress making, cooking and interior design. She also told me that she was clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Then she found her love for chocolates, focused on it and started a business with it. Now, she is known for her chocolates and continues to do things she loves.
One day, over hot chocolate, she told me: “You’re a good communicator and a likeable guy, so why not start your own PR & Events team?” I was hesitant at first, doubting (again) if I could ever pull it off, even if my friends think highly of my public relations and events management skills more than my writing. Then it hit me. Maybe the reason I can’t move forward is that I am not doing what I am designed to do.
So I took a leap of faith and started my humble PR & Events team. At first, it was daunting to run a client-based business, but it went well with God’s grace and everything has been okay for three years now. I have a team both in Cebu and Davao handling marketing and events projects where I still get to practice my other interests in the arts. It feels really good to do the things I love. And being the Jack of all trades that I am, I recently enrolled in a culinary program so I can learn to cook. As they say, life is a continuous learning process.
There are so many of us in this world—so many of us searching for what we really want to do with our lives. We may be judged for being “lost” and doing a lot of things and mastering none, but don’t feel bad. We are all designed differently, and in this ever changing world, being a Jack (or a Jill) of all trades is perfectly fine.