Intan Ruziana Octavia

Thoughts on anything related to workplace and career wellbeing

Why We Need to Stop Taking the Jack of All Trades for Granted

A few months ago, a good friend of mine told me that I’m like a Swiss Army knife. “That wasn’t a compliment,” He said. I’m aware that he may referred to the terms Jack of All Trades – and I see nothing wrong with that. He talked about the importance of sticking to a personal brand, a niche – especially if we want people to take us seriously. I don’t dismiss or dispute the idea that having a brand is important. As someone who is learning the fundamental of marketing, I acknowledge the benefits of having a strong brand identity in the market.

But what if being a Swiss Army knife or Jack of All Trades is also a strong brand?

What if they are all actually the greatest executor you’ll ever have because they’ve got the ability and skills to build connections across disciplines?

Well, definitely, not just a mediocre player but someone you need to make things actually happen.

One of the sad things today is that so many people embrace the idea that Jack of All Trades as the master of none. Especially when the person isn’t a founder/CEO or anyone in the managerial level. Some people often take Jack of All Trades for granted, because they dabble in many skills but their skills are considered mediocre.

I don’t deny there are people who don’t care about living life to the fullest or making a contribution. And I’m not saying there’s something wrong with mediocrity either. But what if the Jack of All Trades you know is actually the true unicorn? Well, maybe this person is driven to be one of the broadest thinker, the next expert-generalist, or simply the person you can’t ignore.

While it’s true that people will always come to the expert or specialist first to solve their problem, but being Jack of All Trades doesn’t always mean they’re a master of none either. Even though this is not always the case, there must be one discipline they’re stand out at.

They’re also a specialist with all the skills set they have. We all have to accept the fact that we can’t be an expert in all aspect of our life anyway. So understand a bit of everything is great, too.

After all, often the best things happen not because we have an expert around us but because there’s someone who can see the bigger picture of everything more accurately and clearly. Abraham Maslow says its best, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

And the world needs Jack of All Trades to bridge the gaps and filling in any knowledge that expert otherwise may not have. Despite assuming that Jack of All Trades only know a bit of everything, why not make great assumptions that s/he may be in the progress of broaden and deepen their base of knowledge in some areas. It could be their strategies to win in this competitive market, too.

Appreciate them, give them chance, they may become your thrive buddy! 😉


Intan is a full-time talent hunter, copywriter, and an avid reader. When she's not writing or busy finding great talent, you can find her reading books, listening to podcasts, or hanging out with her friends at malls in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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