Search

Jack of All Trades


You've heard it said: jack of all trades, master of none; but do you know the whole phrase? It's actually:


A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.


For some other interesting sayings that don't actually mean what we've been taught, check this out.


It's bothered me for years that many people see me as a master of one trade: music. Okay, yes, I'm very good at music - not just playing it, but understanding the theory behind it, analyzing it, writing it, predicting where it's going, dissecting it, all the things. If you don't know, this isn't really a learned skillset I have. I did go to school and get degrees in music, but I can't remember a time in my life where that mattered. I just always understood and could play music. It's a privilege I have. Other words include ability, proclivity, talent, gift, etc. Pick your word, but I consider it a privilege: something I've always had, through no fault or effort of my own. It just is.


The thing about being a master of one is that it's limiting. Yes, it's a privilege to be gifted, and it's one I value. I've been afforded so many opportunities, met wonderful people, worked with amazing artists, played world class organs, and I don't intend to stop.


~ however ~


When you were in high school, do you remember people asking you, "What are you going to major in?" No one asked me that. Only people who knew me really well had any idea that I was struggling to decide and didn't really want to major in music. I did, mostly from family pressure (I know, I was the one person in history with parents who said I should major in music rather than business), and after that, a graduate degree and jobs in music were certain, though consistently unwanted. I just never felt like I had a choice.


In 2018, I finished a second Master's Degree in Communication, and I'll probably get another one or two before all is said and done. When I began the program, there was a part of me that wanted to pursue it just to prove I could get a degree in a non-music field, but by mid-2017, my motivation had changed to simply wanting to learn more. I also got my NC Realtor's license around that time with the intention of leaving full-time music and selling houses (that idea failed miserably in record time!)


So now, it's 2020, and after three excellent job interviews this year, being a final candidate at each (of the three), having great contacts already in the companies (all three companies), and being sure I'd get the job (three times), I was offered: 0 out of 3. Did I mention this happened thrice? Sorry, maybe still a bit bitter.


If you read my post last Thursday, you know I've changed my direction. It's time to lean into instead of run away from music and my privilege.


Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't going to quit music altogether. Despite my constant frustration at the rather impotent stances Hayes Barton UMC has taken on social justice issues, especially immigration and LBGTQ+ inclusion (about which I'm sure I'll write in the future), there are wonderful people and dear, dear friends I have in that congregation. Similarly, my job as Dir. of Operations at North Carolina Master Chorale is incredibly rewarding. Getting to facilitate music behind the scenes, expand arts education, further choral music in our area, and work with excellent staff and musicians is a true gift, and I appreciate it. I just wanted to try something different.


My wizness (woman-owned-business) partner Susan and I started Customerized in 2018 to help arts groups, nonprofits, and small business owners enhance and increase their digital presence, and it's been a blast. We hope to grow that too (TRANSLATION: reach out today if you need a website, social media profiles, press release help, etc).


So yeah, jack of all trades. Well, several trades; "all" seems a stretch. Maybe I'll get to "master" of a few. It's a gig economy, baby. Here's to the gigs: *clink*


- SA




9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

© 2021 by Stephen L. Aber

stephen@stephenaber.com

(919) 391-3794