Jack + Jill of all Trades

7 August 2012

Whether it’s for self-improvement, resume building, or just to be more interesting at dinner parties, there’s been an uptick in online courses and a wellspring of offline learning communities to make you the most up-to-date, polished, well-rounded version of yourself.

Professionally, you think you’ve made it.  You’re a successful artist, congrats! How’s that website of yours? Ooof, it’s not flash–is it? Pinning, sharing, tagging, instagraming, making a name for yourself.  Or, does this sound familiar? You think you’re a shoe-in for that public relations gig, but wait, what? Job description calls for InDesign and working knowledge of HTML markup, really? Isn’t there an IT guy for that? Nope, not anymore.  We are smack in the middle of a DIY-era, and I’m not talking about tie-dye.  We must be the Jack + Jill of all trades and as well-rounded as the next guy. Luckily soaking up new skills has never been easier.

Indulging pangs of creativity, embracing alter-ego careers and collecting handy skills are at your fingertips.  Who knows, maybe you finally give in to that creative whim beckoning from your youth. Perhaps you uncover a skill that ignites a passion which you wield into a new-found career.

Here are a few of my favorite online + offline classes.  Ask yourself, what have you always wanted to learn, try, create?


  • How-Cast:  YouTube + Self Improvement site = how i learned how to properly affix my wig last Halloween.
  • Code Academy: learn to code. get that high demanding PR gig, or have a blog!
  • Khan Academy: flipping the script on education. watch this TED Talk.
  • Lynda.com: popular among creatives. Photoshop, InDesign, JavaScript
  • OpenCulture:  Ivy takes their courses online + for free: The Elements of Drawing from Oxford, Philosophy in Film from MIT, Ancient Wisdom + Modern Love from Notre Dame, Political Philosophy from Yale.


Adam Savage, host of MythBusters, in a commencement speech to Sarah Lawrence graduates, sums it up quite nicely:

“F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby and is one of our national treasures. A true giant of writing.The silliest thing he ever wrote is the quote, ‘There are no second acts in American lives.’

This is insane. If there’s one thing that typifies the American experience it is that reinvention and rebirth are intrinsic to it. Raymond Chandler didn’t write a single word of any consequence until his 40s. Julia Child learned to cook at 40! Clint Eastwood directed his first film at 41.

Don’t be afraid to be a late bloomer. Repeatedly.”

We're over here now:

Jessica Arb Danial Art Advisory