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Jack Of All Trades & Master Of Many

17 April 2015

We’ve been a bit quiet on the #KnowYoureSkilled front. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t still spreading the message and getting some great feedback from those who have had the conversation.

We had a lovely response from our postcards, most notably when we went to visit the Brighter Steppings’ group of young people in Barking.

They did a great job of helping each other realise what makes them each unique and a brilliant asset to the group as a whole. Working with these bright young people and hearing them highlight the fantastic skills of their peers really inspired us to keep the momentum going. They were even kind enough to help me to realise that I am apparently ‘smart and can speak loudly and clearly, always knowing what to say’ – that certainly made me smile.

Some of our favourite postcards and placards are pictured.

As we experience taking the placard and the message along to different groups, we certainly learn more and more about what a universally necessary message Know You’re Skilled really is.

Recently, I discovered a close relative of mine was made redundant at work. In his late twenties and with a young daughter and a mortgage to pay, this was clearly a shock to him and a blow to his self-esteem. I realised after speaking to him for some time that he had quite low confidence about applying for jobs he had seen advertised as he felt ‘under qualified’ for most of them. He described the problem as being a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’ in his previous place of work – a familiar phrase that I too have grappled with before, looking at my own CV. Without even knowing his experience I could recognise immediately that he was looking at his abilities and achievements from the wrong perspective. Instead of seeing how he could apply himself brilliantly to a number of jobs, he saw that he simply couldn’t fit, a square peg in a round hole, limited by the specifics of his current position. I think without realising, I started having a Know You’re Skilled conversation with him and this conversation continued for me later that evening. I think that this culture of feeling ‘under-qualified’ or disadvantaged for a position comes from the very notion of job titles. Often we see ourselves in our fixed ‘position’ or ‘role’ and believe that this is therefore a static fact that cannot be moved, stretched or remolded. I think we must shift our perspective to believe we are the expert wielders of a number of highly transferable skills. ‘Jack of all trades, master of many’ is perhaps more apt?

As pointed out by Rick Hall, a friend of make: good, when he spoke a few months back: “we don’t know what jobs will exist in five or ten years time”. Our job and its unique responsibilities perhaps didn’t even exist in the previous decade. In order to survive and believe we can survive in an admittedly bleak job market – the biggest survival lesson of all is to really Know You’re Skilled – and we definitely plan to share this message far and wide.

If you want to know more about the #KnowYoureSkilled mission, take a look at this blog post:

– AW