I’ve considered writing this blog entry for a long time but have put it off because I worry about you all getting bored of my introspective ramblings. But, yet again a tweet started me thinking about it and I’ve decided that if you think it’s boring you don’t have to read it.
If you’ve played “Dungeons & Dragons” or one of the many computer games based on their rules you will have come across the idea of character class. The class of character you create will determine your starting attributes and skills and determine how good you can eventually become at these skills and how quickly you can progress with them through practice.
The original classes were Fighter, Mage, Cleric and Thief. At some point, they added Bard.
A bard can do a bit of magic, a bit of fighting, a bit of theft, they have lots of knowledge and high charisma, they can persuade people. Now I haven’t played proper D&D, I’ve only played games using simplified versions of the rules so I’m interpreting loosely here.
When I first came across a bard character, I liked the idea and based my character on that. I did again, in another game, somehow I identified with the idea. Finally, I realised why. I was a bard. I could be competent at most things, with the notable exceptions of passing my driving test (finally passed on fifth attempt) and ten pin bowling where my first attempt was so disastrous I never tried again.
Of course, I can’t do magic, and I can’t fight, but I can research I’m fine at IT, can programme in obsolete languages, I can teach, am very well organised and logical, I can ace the soft skills but have very few actual selling points,
When I sat my O levels (yes, I’m that old), my results were fine, nothing spectacular like the 10 A* some kids manage now, but perfectly acceptable and evenly spread between the subjects. All the teachers wanted me to do their subjects at A level. (I chose Sciences & Maths btw). At University, I elected to do a Chemistry degree. To be perfectly honest I suspect this was because we had a good Chemistry teacher. In retrospect, this was the wrong decision. Since then my jobs have slowly moved away from Chemistry via research in a Pharmaceutical firm to sales admin in same, to sales admin elsewhere to general admin to IT admin to programming to software support to teaching IT.
I’ve been competent in all these, good maybe very good in some, but never exceptional (as far as I know).
So, there you have it, I’m a bard. I can do lots of things well but am not what I would consider outstanding in any. I know a lot without being an expert. I can get on with people. But I’m not sure where I go now as a generalist. Maybe specialising when young and sticking to it would have been a better plan. My poor parents couldn’t have advised me, My dad drove trains and my mum was a housewife, neither educated beyond 16. Fortunately, my children have known what they wanted to do since they were small. Their ambitions may eventually be thwarted, but at least they always had a focus.
Me, I’m just a sad bard. Jack of all trades, master of none. Is there anyone out there in need of one?