Jack of all trades, master of none. This phrase, foryears, has become a negative depiction of a person with nomastery of any kind of skill but with little knowledge ondifferent fields. Because of this, it has become insulting formany to be labeled as a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’. But is it really sobad to be such one? As mentioned in the Definition Box, theidea of Jack-of-all-trades was originally considered as a positivecomment but changed when the phrase ‘master of none’wasadded. Now, it is referred to as generalists who become “go-through”people who are called when immediate solutions areneeded. They are believed to be inferior to the specialists whoare the “go-to”people when certain expertise in knowledge andability of a certain field are needed. It is also said thatemployers or more specifically, the human resource departmentwould immediately notice and take interest in applicants whoare experts rather than those who are not despite the number of skills. However, this does not conclude that being a Jack-of-all-trades is bad. As what has been said earlier, it wasn’t a negativedepiction until the people changed it.Timothy Ferriss, an author and public speaker,generated 5 reasons to be a Jack-of-all-trades:
5. “Jack of all trades, master of none”is an artificialpairing.
“It is entirely possible to be a Jack of all trades, master of many.”said Ferriss. He stated that the 80/20 principle provesthat people of Jack-of-all-trades does not have mediocre skills,saying that learning 20% of a language’s vocabulary will allowone to communicate and understand 80% and that 20% of themoves done in sports contribute to about 80% of the scoring.With this, “is it settling for mediocre?”he asked.
4. In a world of dogmatic specialists, it’s the generalists whoends up running the show.
“Is the CEO a better accountant than the CPA? Is Steve Jobs abetter programmer than the iTunes VP of Engineering? No, buthe has a broad range of skills and sees the unseeninterconnectedness.”Ferris said. He stated that “as technologybecomes a commodity with the democratization of information,it’s the big picture generalists who will predict, innovate, andrise to power fastest.”
Continue on page 4
Volume 1 No.3 September 2009
Definition BoxDefinition Box
′ ′′ ′
′ ′′ ′
\ Function: NounOrigin: 1610 –1620It refers to a person who is adept in many different kindsof work, which indicated versatility and is an expression of praise, as it is said an individual learns enough from manyexperiences of trade and skills. Why Jack? It simply refers to‘man’in 1600s which originated during the revolt of peasantsin the Hundred Years’War in France. The peasants werereferred to as ‘Jacque’by the nobles because of the paddedsurplice they wore called ‘Jacque’. It was then adopted byEngland in the form of ‘Jack’.The phrase ceased to be a term of admiration and flatterywhen “master of none”was added because of the changingdemand in industries to form the idiom
Jack of all trades,master of none
. Today, this figure of speech refers to ageneralist, or a person who has passable knowledge in manyareas but does not specialize or is not fully competent in anyparticular one.
by: Jamie ElodyChoi,
yr. AE -BMG
ContentsContentsContentsContentsIIII==== FFFFoooor rr rtttteeee aaaannnndddd SSSSuuuucccccccceeeessssssss…………....2222 SSSSttttuuuuddddeeeennnntttt RRRReeeeppppssss SSSSppppeeeeaaaakkkk........…………....6666FFFFuuuunnnn PPPPaaaaggggeeee…………………………………………………………………………........7777LLLLaaaassssaaaalllllllliiiiaaaannnnA AA Acccchhhhiiiieeeevvvveeeer rr r……………………........5555 SSSSttttuuuuddddeeeennnnttttssss’’’’PPPPeeeer rr rssssppppeeeeccccttttiiiivvvveeee…………........6666 SSSSoooommmmeeeetttthhhhiiiinnnngggg ttttoooo PPPPoooonnnnddddeeeer rr r OOOOnnnn…………8888
The generalist’s perspective
A Mistaken Jack
by: Clarisse Anne Ebue