Jack-Of-All-Trades

I have proudly stated here that I am a Jack-of-all-trades. I know a little bit about many different topics but that does not mean I can’t know a lot about a few of them. This brings up the idea of finding your passion and how I have changed my view of that. That is what this post is all about.

I don’t remember when I came across the TV show RoadTrip Nation. It is a PBS series about a group of young people who travel in a green RV across the country trying to find their passion. They talk with a wide variety of entrepreneurs that range from tech companies to artist initiatives. When I discovered Roadtrip Nation it brought back how unprepared I was for choosing my future occupation.

I went to high school in a small rural town in the 1960s and my “guidance counselor” who was the agriculture teacher and FFA leader decided that I should go into farming. Of course, he said that as that was about the only thing he knew anything about. I quickly discounted that possibility as I had no interest whatsoever in being a farmer. Long story short, I ended up blindly choosing Electrical Engineering because that is what Dad dreamed of being. Little did I know at the time that was a mistake.

Getting back to the topic at hand, it would have been great if I had been exposed to more fields of endeavor during those years. I might have actually chosen something that I was more attuned to. But in reality the field my personality and Aspie traits were aligned with had yet to be created. It would take another two decades before that happened.

But you have to understand how things were in the 1960. I know it is hard to believe but people almost always expected to find the right company and then to work for them for the next thirty years and that is what I did. I was one of the last few who actually managed that.

In many ways I envy those today that will change jobs on average every seven years. I know that makes the job security almost nonexistent but it also allowed them to regularly determine if a change of direction is needed.

Finally, getting to the point, I think it is better to first be a jack of all trades and then choosing the one where you want to be the master. Of course this would likely require that you would need new training and mentors; I kinda think that will be the standard for work in the 21st century. Always learning, always being prepared to change ships for better opportunities and interests. While that is threatening to many it is a challenge to those who have the confidence in their abilities.

2 thoughts on “Jack-Of-All-Trades

  • I have wondered what you think would have been an appropriate suggestion for your guidance counselor to give you in the 60’s? Remember too that your guidance counselor probably farmed and made his 7,000 to live off of at your school…
    Most of the very bright, aspie characteristic, men in the private boys schools got degrees in engineering, law or medicine. Those were the degrees with money and power in the end. None required a huge amount of personal interaction and required laser focus.
    As a teacher I never sent a child for diagnosis for autism or ADHD if they were bright. I felt their traits were good ones to have. Every surgeon I have run into has traits—. Including no bedside manner. I would trade a one of them….
    Just my take on it.

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  • Thanks for the thoughts Janette. I don’t have anything to compare my 60s guidance counselor with, but I hope in the larger schools the counselor actually knew something about the person he was counseling. I had never had a class or hardly knew my counselor’s name. He simply didn’t put ANY effort into living up to the title. I would hope, but it is only a guess, that today’s counselors at least ask the student what he really likes to do and maybe some aptitudes test is given. At that age I simply didn’t know what was even available to me, so I grabbed the only thing I knew, and that was dad’s dream.

    I salute you for not trying to put some stigmatizing labels on your bright students. Let them be who that are but guide them to possible areas where they might excel.

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