PROBLEM: Most people are trained in just one specialty. And it’s usually some sort of service rather than manufacture.

It may not seem problematic to be trained specifically for a single specialty service skill. Actually, it is a good thing to have a specialty. Most of us do have a particular skill that we’re good at. We tend to career in such things, because we excel there.

So what’s the problem? Usually it’s not. But it does require a stable functioning cohesive society for all this to work.

Logically a society will advance in many ways when individuals are really good at a skill. These skills enable products and services for the society at large. We all benefit from it. People are paid for their specialty work, and when they need a product or service outside of their abilities, they hire it out. Pay for it. Pretty basic, but that’s how it works. Everything alright so far?

However when a society breaks down (“Come on Ken, that’ll never happen!”), those who have multiple “practical” skills will be better off. So from a preparedness point of view, you might say that a “Jack (or Jill) of all trades” is generally preferred under those circumstances.

Many people can’t do the most basic things…

I have known MANY people throughout my career(s) who couldn’t do much of anything else – except what they were specifically trained in. I’m not knocking them for it. It mostly works in a functioning society because there are other people to do those other things.

But it sometimes struck me as interesting how so many people can’t even do some of the most basic things. Or comprehend how to.

Again, wow, I am sure glad that there are highly talented experts out there (e.g. brain surgeons) and I could care less that they may not be skilled in other areas! But I’m speaking generally here. Today it seems that most every person only knows one skill (their “job”).

What happened to the practical trades?

When I was young… (well I still am in my mind 😉 ), there were LOTS of trades that young adults could go into. In high school there were a number of classes where we learned a little about each of the major trades. We got some “hands-on”. The girls had their own types of classes too which I’m sure today would be considered gender biased or something… Hey, what ever happened to “Home Ec” class? Egads!! How demeaning to suggest that!

Young people were introduced to many practical trades “back in the day”. Many chose these avenues and went on to “trade schools” or would apprentice. While others went on to college for other higher skills.

Practical Skills

So what am I getting at here?

I guess it just “strikes me” when interacting with someone who may be very good at the one thing, but can barely tie their shoe laces. Wow would that person be in trouble if SHTF. And there are a lot like those out there.

It just seems to me that it’s a good idea to know how to do many things (especially those skills which are practical) rather than being expert in just one. Again, that’s from a general preparedness standpoint.

I am so glad that I have learned many basic, practical, hands-on electro-mechanical skills over my lifetime. I managed to work a few related careers which advantaged that. So it worked out well enough for me.

Eventually I worked my way into a management role. Though the pay was better, I didn’t like it so much. But that was mostly due to interactions with “higher ups” who hadn’t a clue (or didn’t much care) about those down the totem pole. They were the ones who couldn’t fix a “fill int the blank” if their life depended on it. Though I’m painting with a broad brush, many of you likely know what I’m talking about…

Back to the topic. Most people are trained in one area. One skill. One specialty. And most people today don’t seem to have much of any practical sense or practical skills.

Just think about a collapsing society where most everyone has no practical skills. What a mess!

Teach your kids how to make things. They might like it.