The Renaissance (Utility) Man...

As I started to think about my skill set, and what it’s useful for I began to think about my peers.  I have friends that are engineers, electricians, mechanics, teachers, architects, massage therapists and web designers.  All of whom are very successful, all of whom make a considerable amount of money and all of whom have a skill or degree in some sort of trade or transferrable marketable skill.  Then I began to think about my particular skill set, what it is that I do.  I can’t fix cars or fabricate body or frame work.  I can’t build you a website and increase your business marketability via use of my skills on a computer. 

 When I was a boy, everyone wanted a Swiss army utility knife for its versatility.  Much like the man who doesn't specialize in any one particular thing now, no one talks about them nor seems to want one.  

When I was a boy, everyone wanted a Swiss army utility knife for its versatility.  Much like the man who doesn't specialize in any one particular thing now, no one talks about them nor seems to want one.  

I can’t fix your physical ailments through the art of touch, nor can I design you a beautiful building or have it wired with electricity to function in one beautiful, harmonious project.  You might even say that I have no talent besides my athletic ability.  But if you arent playing a pro sport than that isn't a marketable trait either.  I have a liberal arts degree, my degree is in the study of history and political science.  I’m a reader, researcher, and someone who can articulate points well.  I paint for a hobby, but I don't think you would see any of my work on display at any show nor would people clammer over each other to pay for any of my work. 

None of these skills happen to be a skill set that anyone in the professional world would pay me a considerable amount of money to use.  None of these skills happen to be skills that are admired by anyone.  They are skills that are often overlooked and in many cases not seen as extraordinary skills at all.  Rather they are seen as a given, they are seen as skills that every and anyone possess and are easy to come by. 

 Leonardo Da Vinci, One of the original renaissance men, renowned for his skills in every walk of life.  Do we not see any more renaissance men because there are none, or do we just happen to prefer the man who isn't one?

Leonardo Da Vinci, One of the original renaissance men, renowned for his skills in every walk of life.  Do we not see any more renaissance men because there are none, or do we just happen to prefer the man who isn't one?

My interests span across the board.  I’m a quick study and love to learn, I’m what some may call an aspiring renaissance man.  But in reality in today’s world what does that mean and what does it serve?  I’ve found that for the most part, men or women who are good at many things but specialize in nothing are seen as expendable, undesirable and not very extraordinary.  You see it in sports all the time, the utility man is always the one to be traded first, always the one to be used as a bargaining chip for the super star who does one or two things at an amazing level.  This leaves the athlete who does everything to be nothing but a journeyman.  So now I find myself with this new charge, a charge to find out what my true value is in the professional world. 

I need to find what place is there for someone like me who does many good things but knows know marketable trade and does no one thing at an amazing level despite my intellectual acumen or ability to learn new things.  In America it seems like an impossible task.  Is it something I’ll have a better chance at when moving out of the country?  Who is it that understands the value of the utility man?  Who is it that still respects that versatility of one verses the amazing singularity of some?  Hopefully that time will soon come when the renaissance man can once again be as respected as the specialist.