Coming Up For Air

Up For Air

In case you were wondering where I’ve been lately…..

I’ve been working full time for the past two weeks.

All the full time working readers: So?

Well, I also have kids.

All the full time working parent readers: So?

Well, I’ve also been sick. In fact, one day I felt so sick, I actually thought I might have caught man-flu.

All the sick full time working parent readers: Sss….. Yeah, okay, that’s probably fair enough.

To be honest, I felt pretty wimpy. I mean, people do this all the time. At work, I’m surrounded by working parents teaching full time in a challenging environment. And, being full time teachers, they also have all that other accountability stuff like Professional Development Plans and reports and checklists and planning and…. It exhausts me just thinking about it.

Even allowing for the added challenge last week of spending each day fighting off a headache and trying not to cough up a lung, it concerned me that I was so tired at the end of each day.

But then I thought, maybe working is like any other physical activity. It takes fitness. Just as I used to be able to run 10km without really thinking about it, now that I haven’t run in months, even a short 4km is an effort. Maybe working full time takes training.

Apart from the occasional short stint, I haven’t worked full time since I had the kids. Prior to that, I was working full time on an IT project in a large corporation. I was commuting by train for over an hour each way and I was working long hours. And I really mean long. Six o’clock train in the morning, 7.15pm train home was the standard day. A 9.30pm train home was not unusual. Then there were the days I’d catch a taxi home at 3am. (The trains stopped running at midnight.) Or the one memorable day when I caught the 6am train to work and then came home at lunchtime the next day.

It’s been over twenty years since that mad stage of my life. There’s no way I could sustain that now. And it’s not just because I also have children who need me at the end of the day. I just don’t have the fitness for it any more.

But unlike my running that I do need to get up and … er … running, I’m not sure I’m ready to put in the training for full time work just yet. So I’ll stick with the casual relief work and take each option as it comes. And hopefully I’ll still find the time to hang out here in the blogosphere for a while yet.

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your fitness for something?

I’d like to dedicate this post to my friends and colleagues who work full time in challenging environments. You rock.



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7 Reasons Why You Should Employ A Jack Of All Trades

The world is round. So why do we live in such a linear society?

Most employers seem to have a one-track mind when it comes to selecting their staff. They search for someone with the qualifications and experience that lines up perfectly with the position they are offering.

A Jack of All Trades, however, is likely to have qualifications that match the criteria but no related experience. Or experience in the job being advertised but no relevant qualifications. And likely to have both in areas that are both mildly related and totally unrelated to the position.

But while most employers immediately rule out such deviations from the norm, I’d argue that a Jack of All Trades is exactly the sort of employee every workplace should have.

1. Versatility

A Jack of All Trades has tried it all. Or at least a lot of what is on offer. She has skills in broad areas, knowledge in many subjects and can pretty much turn her hand to anything. As an employer that means you can give her any sort of job and she will take it on with gusto. It’s like getting ten employees in one.

2. Flexibility

Tapping into a variety of experiences means a Jack of All Trades has had to be flexible. Depending on what he has taken on, he may be called upon to use his physical fitness or his intellectual acumen; his ability to wield a hammer or a paintbrush; his business nous or his knowledge of classical music. As an employer’s business needs adjust in an ever-changing world, a Jack of All Trades employee is up to the task whatever comes.

3. Creativity

A Jack of All Trades does not travel through life in a straight, predictable line. She views the world in sidelong glances and turned heads. She sees above, beyond, below and behind all the world has to offer. A Jack of All Trades does not expect the world to be the way she expects it to be. She expects the world to surprise her. Should a problem arise, the Jack of All Trades has every angle to employ in solving it. She not only thinks Outside The Box, she is Outside The Box.

4. Unflappability

By his very nature, a Jack of All Trades is always ready to move onto the next new shiny thing. Change is not something to be feared but celebrated. An alteration in the job requirements of a position will not have a Jack of All Trades sobbing in the executive bathroom or hiding under the covers in his bed while he claims stress leave. He will relish the new challenge and get on with the job.

5. Adaptability

The Jack of All Trades is the chameleon of the workforce. Need someone to communicate with shareholders, factory workers and management? You need a Jack of All Trades. She’s met so many people, worked in so many areas, she can morph into any representative you need. A Jack of All Trades adjusts to meet whatever is required in her position. She won’t cross her arms, stamp her feet and protest, “that’s not in my job description”. If anything, a Jack of All Trades relishes the challenge of every aspect of her job, especially the unexpected ones.

6. Quick Learning

The reason a Jack of All Trades knows so many things is because he is interested in so many new things. He is always hungry for new knowledge and new skills. This makes him a quick learner, basically through constant practice. It would be rare for a job candidate to have every single skill an employer requires for a position. There is almost always some learning involved. If you hire a Jack of All Trades, those gaps in knowledge or skill will not be gaps for long. A Jack of All Trades actively seeks to learn all there is to learn and then some. You will soon have an employee who not only knows everything he needs to know to do his job but will also probably know how to do Pete’s job too, especially if it intersects with his own. And no formal training required. A Jack of All Trades is a self-training machine.

7. Organisation

Early morning rowing, evening banjo lessons and regular blog posts. Training and fundraising for an event and rehearsing for a play. Throw in raising children, maintaining a household and looking for work. The organisational skills of a Jack of All Trades cannot be underestimated. She has a Masters in Time Management and a PhD in Keeping It All Together. Need six things done at once in a high-pressure environment with tight deadlines? A Jack of All Trades has it covered.

So why would you bring only a tiny part of life into your business when you could have the whole shebang?

A Jack of All Trades – the World’s Super-Employee.

Jack of All Trades 2

Jack of All Trades: Super-Employee



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