The Joy of Being a Jack of All Trades

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Curiosity is the mother of learning and the more curious a person is on a variety of things, the more chances are there for him/ her to become a jack of all trades. In reality, not all can become jack of all trades. It looks becoming a jack of all trades is rather a God given gift.

If you ask me whether I am a jack of all trades, I should say yes, perhaps adding a correction, “if not all, at least several”. Did it at any point of time become a bad news? Not at all. How have I been benefited by being a jack of all trades?

Scope for Better Avenues For Employment

I started my career as design engineer. When I switched over to my next job, it was “technical” marketing, where my previous design experience was an asset. At one point of time, our company was negotiating with a customer for a number of “non-standard, specially designed machines” but our company did not have any previous experience in manufacturing such machines.

The customer wanted us to show some colorful 3-D pictures of the proposed machines (not just simple black and white 2-D line drawings) to convince his higher ups about our capabilities. This happened 25 years ago, when there was no CAD (Computer Aided Design) in our company. I used to be a hobby artist during my college days and I loved oil painting. I volunteered to make the 3-D paintings of a couple of the proposed machines by combining my machine design and oil painting skills. My manager gleefully accepted my offer and gave me permission to spend 2 weeks in our design office and another 2 weeks to make the oil paintings at home.

When I came with my drawings, my boss was impressed. We submitted the proposals to the customer. Unfortunately, the customers’ project was shelved and we ended up with no orders for the machines. But my artistic skills helped me to impress the management and I got my promotion the same year.

After 7 years in marketing I switched over to application engineering (tooling-up and demonstrating machining of customers’ components in our machines) and then I quit the job to start my own machine design and consultancy firm.

Scope for Diversification

During my employment in the marketing department, I could find time to self-learn computer programming (Dbase III+ and Clipper, in those days) and I took the initiative to computerize some of our activities in a small way within our department.

Later, a few years after I started my own design consultancy, I came across an opportunity for a software development, related to Industrial Calibration and Metrology to a specific customer, through a friend. During that period, my parent line, namely machine tools, was facing a recession. I was frantically searching for alternative avenues for survival and my programming skills came in handy. I developed the Calibration software as a general application software usable for many industries as a very valuable aid for ISO 9000 quality standard practices.

For two years, this software was bringing me new customers and it was that software that earned my bread and butter. By this time, my parent industry revived from recession and I was able to concentrate again on my main line, namely machine design.

Scope of Being a Productive Hobby

Right from my college days, I was interested in writing. As a hobby writer, more than a dozen of my short stories appeared in print in my mother tongue Tamil in very popular Tamil magazines.

Now in my early fifties, I have revived my interest in writing. Internet has proved to be a fertile ground for freelance writing. In the past one and half years, I have started writing extensively in several sites (Bukisa, Helium, Associated content, Suite101, Hubpages etc). These writings not only give outlet to my writer’s itch, but also earn me some decent pocket money!

Another area of my interest is translation. I am offering my voluntary services to a Tamil spiritual monthly in translating articles related to Hinduism and spirituality from English to Tamil and these articles are appearing on a regular basis in that magazine.

Scope for Saving Money

I do many of the simple electrical and plumbing work inside the house myself. I do very minor repairs in my 2-wheeler myself. These simple activities of self-help avoid the need for calling in a mechanic and paying him for his services.

   Thus, based on personal experience, I can vouch that being a jack of all trades gives lots of mental satisfaction and it has enlivened my life.

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