Miss Jill (Jack) of All Trades
I've had a diverse career path over the past 27 years, more like an experiential adventure. And surprisingly, for most of them, I had no clue about the areas until I got into them. Has it been an easy journey? Not all the time. Has it been an enjoyable journey? I'd say 75-80% of the time. Have I lost my sanity during it all? Yup, several times. Nevertheless, they've all been great teachers that have, in some instances, stretched me like an elastic band while molding me and adding new dimensions to my life.
For years though, I was led to believe that having diverse backgrounds/experiences was not "THE THING" and that I should have "A SPECIALTY" or “BE KNOWN FOR ONE THING.” And I BELIEVED IT. Whenever I applied for a job I doubted myself heavily and even after getting the job I still had the doubt/fear factor swirling around in my head because, again, I believed my diverse background was a problem and I wouldn’t be effective.
Fast forward to now. I highly doubt that my diverse background is something to be feared, but rather, one to be embraced, explored and enhanced.
We need to stop doing this. Stop making people feel as if they are as less capable than others because they don't fit into the so-called norms of what a career path should look like. Not everyone is going to be a marketing specialist, a doctor, an IT professional, or an accountant. There are those of us who will never fit into that norm and can do many things and do them darn well. Wanna know why? Because skills learnt are transferable and having had experience in multiple areas one can easier navigate what I call “wider oceans.” Plus we tend to push ourselves more to learn the areas we’re placed in so that we have a better understanding of it, even while learning the organization's nuisances and procedures etc. That’s how our minds work.
I remember one of my previous bosses assigning me a portfolio and my first reaction was to tell him that I couldn't do it. He asked why I thought so. I read him my laundry list - I don't have the requisite experience/skills, I know nothing about the field, and I've never studied that nor worked in that area. He looked at me and said ok, let me know when you’ve come up with a plan. I slumped in the chair wondering if this man was crazy and then asked, why me? He said, “sometimes people who know nothing about an area have no preconceived ideas or opinions and approach tasks with a fresh set of eyes, plus I'm confident you'll figure it out, you have in the past.” That was the end of that conversation. Suffice it to say I figured it out, ran it for two years, put policies and procedures in place, trained people, and then handed it over to someone else.
I’m embracing the saying “Everything is figureoutable.” I’m no longer placing limits on myself or allowing anyone to put limits on me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm human, so it's never as easy as it sounds and we can be our worst enemies. Nevertheless, I’m a work in progress and I believe strongly in progress over perfection. So now, when anyone asks, "what do you do?" I smile and say "I'm Miss Jill (Jack) of All Trades. Because that is who I AM and ain't nothing wrong with that.
Let me introduce you to Miss Jill (Jack) of All Trades, a.k.a. Deon Cecile Dewar-Gray. I'm a General Management Professional, Writer, Blogger, Proofreader, Organizer, and an Aspiring Author. And if I think long enough, I could add a few more things like the best Sister and Auntie ever, and a budding Gardener. I've worked in Compliance, Treasury, Administration, Customer Care, Cost Control, and Operations and I’ve also had the awesome experience of working in multiple industries: Gaming and Entertainment, Hotel, Telecommunications, Retail (Supermarket), Educational Services, and Financial Services. Oh, it doesn’t stop there! I'm also the Founder, Content Creator, Content Curator, Editorial Director, and Graphic and Website Designer for my website/blog - www.iamdeoncecile.com, and my magazine – Feel Good Magazine. And, how could I forget! I am a youth mentor and I’ve had the pleasure of being a Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition Mentor.
Whew, I’m tired just typing all of this but I feel proud that I’m able to speak about this comfortably without having imposter syndrome hop into my life like a bad dream. It’s okay to be who you are and to embrace it fully. No two persons are the same and we each walk our own path in life. Some are excellent at doing just one thing and some are excellent at doing multiple things. Just do what Sizzla Kalonji says, “Rise to the occasion, look at yourself den say yuh strong, no-one can stop yuh, oh yeah!” Then, while rising to the occasion, use these 7 guiding principles - I.C. A.P.P.L.E. - to help you along, they’ve worked wonders for me throughout my lifetime.
Do everything from a place of LOVE
Have a passion for EXCELLENCE
Am I going to add anything else to my list of CAN DO’s? Who knows, maybe not, but I am open to testing new waters and trusting the process.
By the way, did you know that the term “Jack of All Trades” did not stop at “Jack of all trades is a master of none?” It goes like this, “a Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” Remember that the next time someone tells you to stick to one thing only! Oh, did you also know that the saying was coined to be a compliment to the great William Shakespeare? Well, now you know.
Go be a Jill/Jack of all Trades. Embrace who you are. Let the world enjoy what you have to offer.
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