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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The Meaning of Work and the Work of Meaning

It is generally agreed that long term, chronic and generational unemployment (where children grow up never seeing an adult get up and go to work) plays a large part in societal disadvantage and dysfunction. It is often trumpeted that if we could only get these people into some sort of work, all those problems would disappear. But does putting someone to work sweeping footpaths or stacking boxes really improve their sense of self? Perhaps for someone who has never held a job, the experience of earning a pay packet would indeed lift their self-esteem. But for those who have in the past experienced challenging and fulfilling work and now find themselves jobless, would any sort of work make them feel the same? I think the employment rate hides another societal issue – that of those employed but for whom work does not hold meaning.

Steve Jobs

Until very recently I was unemployed and had been for eight months. I voluntarily left a job that was family-friendly, reasonably flexible and, though low-paid, secure. It would seem an odd job to leave but it had little to challenge me and it was difficult to identify what difference I was making to the world.

I have a teaching qualification, long ago gained but never used. Having a background in mathematics and science I was assured by Those In The Know that these were highly sought-after subjects in the local high schools. So I took the gamble, left my job and launched myself into the world of Casual Relief Teaching.

Those In The Know were sadly misinformed. Thus the eight months  of unemployment.

What changed? I took another gamble. Friends working in the disability sector had for some time suggested I put my name down at the local school for children with intellectual disabilities, citing a desperate need for relief teachers. I had batted each suggestion away with the sense of dismissive ridiculousness it deserved. If I couldn’t gain employment in my area of expertise, what hope did I have in a sector for which I was woefully unqualified? However, unemployment (and its accompanying feelings of rejection) can give one an incentive to try even the most outrageous career choice.

Fortunately I had the opportunity to enter as a volunteer. It gave me the chance to experience the environment and what would be required with a ‘no harm, no foul’ get out clause.

I loved it.

Yeah, it surprised me too.


I’d made no secret as to my purpose for volunteering and once my stint was over, they were keen to move me into relief teaching. I was to undergo a number of days of induction, getting to know some of the classes. Halfway through my first induction day, I was asked if I was available to work the next day. And they’ve kept asking, so I must be doing something right.

Each day I go in, I feel like I’ve jumped out of an aeroplane without a parachute. I am on a steep learning curve (practically vertical) but I am thriving on the challenge. I feel once again the work I am doing is meaningful, not only because it is challenging and stretching me to my utmost ability limits but mostly because of the children themselves. They inspire me every single day and I highly value the opportunity to offer them the experiences and learning they deserve.

Any job can give you at least some sense of doing something productive with your time. It also conveniently puts food on the table. But a job that makes you feel like you are making a difference in the world is what turns working for a living into working for meaning.

It doesn’t mean you have to be vaccinating orphans in Africa or building shelters for the homeless or even working in special education. Whatever your work is, if it feels like more than just a job, if it gives you pleasure in the knowledge that you are having a positive influence on somebody’s life, it is a work of meaning. Perhaps you are the welcoming, smiling face at your local café, the only one a lonely old lady may see all day. Perhaps you take pride in keeping a school clean and tidy, knowing that you are contributing to a positive learning environment. Perhaps you bring the joy of music to people.

It doesn’t have to be ‘worthy’, it just has to matter.




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