Jack of all Trades

For the past 2 years I've been working at a start up. Everywhere I go and all the people that I meet are constantly saying "wow, a start up. So do you get free lunch and stuff?" The answer is no.

The truth that many people miss, myself included is that working at a start up is hard work. I joined the team when there were only 6 employees we were in a cramped crappy office. It smelled awful all the time and the air conditioner leaked constantly.  We did go out for lunch most days, but not because we got free lunch but because the only way we would all be able to eat together and not be at our desks was to leave the office. Not to mention that the mini-fridge in the office always had a funky smell.

When you think about this kind of start up, you expect to work hard, and believe me we did. Every day was a hustle and we sratched and clawed to keep everyone of our customers. But when the team makes the leap from six to 15 and then to 30 people suddenly there is more work to do. When we were six there was a lot of hustle but there just seemed to be more focused work.

I joined the team as an Account Manager (now called a Customer Success Manager) and for the first year or so I was almost fully dedicated to the task. Then the company began to grow and there came the "growing pains" of a rapidly (although from the inside feeling slowly) growing company.  Suddenly someone needed to be on top of the company's growing finances, QA needed to be taken more seriously, even the shear sizes of the customers grew expoentially.

Thats when I found myself learning about test cycles, test plans and testing out all kinds of QA software (which I ended up not using since excel was the easiest solution).  I got to the point where I was good enough at doing manual QA so that was added to my plate.

Flash forward a few months and on top of the previous two positions I was suddenly learning all about the world of billing.  What does net 30, net 45, net 75 mean?  Tons of acronyms and filling out all kinds of ACH and ETF (huh?) forms. 

As things moved along I started exploring into areas that are more interesting to me personally and what I want to be doing with my career. So, now my job description looked something like, product manager, QA, invoicing and Customer Success Manager.  That is quite a mouth full.

The point of this post is that there is a lot of truth to the phrase "A Jack of all trades is a master of none. I find myself everyday getting by with just being good enough.  I'm OK at doing manual QA, at this point I could probably manage the billing department of a small company, and I am a pretty good Customer Success Manager.

But I just don't feel like my skills in any of these feilds are really something to write home about. I've gained an emense amount of knowledge and experience in this short time but there is still a feeling of being a Jack of all trades and a master of none.

I guess this can be applied to just about any facet of life.  I'm a creative person, well I fancy myself a creative person. When I was younger I used to be into photography and drawing, and now I find myself still into photography, less so in drawing (haven't really drawn in years), but I also enjoy cooking, UI design and learned to code.

Living in this Internet Century, as they put it in "How Google Works," it is understandable that you will have knowledge in many different areas.  We don't live in the middle ages where if you were trained as a blacksmith thats they *only* thing you would do for the rest of your life.  You have access to all the information out there, its literally at your finger tips.

What we have to realize is that in the current state of the world you can know a little bit about a lot of things because there is always someone who will know more than you or be better at something than you and it is okay.