I love those sayings that have transformed over time. Whenever I hear someone say, ‘Great minds think alike!’ in a positive way I automatically think of the following line, ‘But fools seldom differ.’ I don’t think all of these people are fools but going off the way they say the first phrase I can usually tell. Another favourite of mine is the phrase, ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.’ This is the original saying of the now sneering put down of someone who has tried their hands at a number of jobs and hobbies but has never stuck to one thing. You might hear people down the pub or on the bus talking about someone who has skipped from job to job and not making a proper go of one field of work. They will usually say it in a mocking way, basically saying that that person is not doing much with their lives.
I used to think that about myself. My C.V. had jobs from various fields. I had journalism experience down there that mirrored most of my jobs; Fleeting and uninspired. I have worked random jobs over the last eight years that have little or no connection to one another. From stocktaking to barwork, cinema work to plumbing, HR to concierge and now data entry, I can safely say that I’ve seen a lot of different areas of labour. I have seen the public at their worst and I have dealt with stressed out suppliers in far-off lands waiting on my data to be entered. I have dealt with well-to-do American twenty-somethings backed by their red-faced parents who expected me to bend backwards for their every need, which I mostly did. I have dealt with teenagers with nothing better to do than to come into the cinema, try and steal stuff and generally piss me off. As a fledgling bartender on my first solo run behind the bar I had a hearing-impaired party, forty or fifty strong, come up to the bar and begin signing their drink orders. I didn’t last long after that. I’ve counted stock in shops up and down the country, to far flung places like the mystical lands of Donegal and Meath, only to have pay withheld for weeks. I have, very badly, laid plastic pipe to set up a heating system in a house in Cobh before realising I did it arseways. I have rang training companies for extremely senior employees so they could get their basic Microsoft training cert renewed. Most recently, I have cleared million dollar customs entries for air and sea imports and exports for companies in Ireland, China and beyond. So, while I may not be a master in any of these fields yet, bar the field of being stressed off my tits no matter the job, at least I have a broad sense of what each job entails. I may be a jack of all trades but I’ve mastered having fun in each place and staying mildly sane while wishing I was born in the Romantic era. I could write poetry and live in poverty before dying of Tuberculosis or the plague or something. Now that would be a stressful job!
Most recently, I have become a jack of all trades in my creative world. The blog is growing slowly but steadily, my podcast is slowly gaining traction and my singing career is finally, some might say, going to blossom (some day I might tell you all the story of Blue Crush, the unfortunately short-lived band I was once a part of!). Next year a song that my friend Meg and I wrote will be released on her newest album. Check her Spotify out. Now, just because I co-wrote the song (I wrote the first line) doesn’t mean I am biased when I say that it is the greatest song ever written, recorded, produced and made. It will sweep the Grammy’s and then you’ll see, you’ll all see that I am the jack AND master of all trades!
I got a bit carried away there everyone. I do apologise. The message that I was trying to get across is that it is OK to be really good at one thing. It’s also OK to be good enough at a few things. It’s very OK to be OK at a lot of things, just like it is OK to have a strong interest in one thing or have a passing interest or broad knowledge of a lot of things. As long as you are happy then who cares what people down the pub or on the bus think? They’re still thinking about you and that’s something, isn’t it?