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[[quoteright:350:[[WebAnimation/BarbieLifeInTheDreamhouse http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Barbie_Jack_of_All_Trades_9920.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Franchise/{{Barbie}}, the only person in the world with [[WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs 126 careers]]... and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie%27s_careers counting]].]]

->''"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."''
-->-- '''Creator/RobertAHeinlein'''

Specialization is a common trend in fiction. It allows the author to create an ensemble cast where every member of a team provides a specific function, and avoids role duplication.

Not always, however.

Perhaps a character is a loner, and needs to be able to do everything on his own. Perhaps everyone else is just so useless, he had to take over their jobs as well as his own. Perhaps he just has a wide variety of interests. May be a sign of a person with a checkered past, who has had to take on a lot of roles in his life, just to get by. Whatever the reason, this character has at least some skill in a wide variety of disciplines.

Sometimes the leader of a group may actually be a Jack-Of-All-Trades, with a good, basic grasp of the specialized skills possessed by the members of his team, allowing him to understand how to use each team member to their fullest potential.

Supertrope of RenaissanceMan (where someone is exceptionally good at many things) and MasterOfNone (where someone is not very good at a lot of things). A related trope found in VideoGames and TabletopGames is the JackOfAllStats, who has well-balanced stats, not skills.

See also TheRedMage, RenaissanceMan and PowerCopying.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Ussop from ''OnePiece'' (before the time skip) seems to be this. He's not an especially good fighter, though he gets in on the action here and there and uses his cleverness when he can. He was doing his best to fix the ship, as the only one who had any skills in that area before they got a shipwright. He mostly did odd jobs on the ship for the crew, not having a specialization like all the others.
** Whilst his pure combat skills where sub-par compared to the other (Admittedly super-human) characters, his aim was always extremely good (Which did in at least one occasion come to great help). Since the time-skip it simply seems he has gotten the combat power to use it effectively against more powerful enemies, along with a wide variety of bizarre plants to use as AbnormalAmmo.
* Asuma Sarutobi from ''{{Naruto}}'' is this. He has near perfect ninjutsu and taijutsu, as well as near perfect speed and strength. This gives him many options in battle, from Katons that explode by blowing gunpowder ash onto a target, charging his trench knives with Futon, to his long ranged Futon. His taijutsu also allows him to last long against stronger opponents such as [[BloodKnight Kisame]] or [[ReligionOfEvil Hidan]] without being overwhelmed. And against weaker ninja, such as Sound Ninja, he can kill nine of them before his cigarette hits the ground.
** Another is [[TheObiWan Jiraiya]]. He is the most versatile character in the manga, only being a master of Ninjutsu to give him a wide pool of techniques. His taijutsu is near perfect, and so are his strength and speed as well, while his perfect stamina allows him to outlast his opponents. Then he becomes a proper Lightning Bruiser when he gets [[SuperMode Sage Mode]] active. And that's not even going into his [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever giant Toad allies]].
* In HayateTheCombatButler, the titular butler is himself an excellent example. He can clean anything, cook like a gourmet with anything available, appear out of nowhere whenever and wherever he is needed, and has such a huge array of odd-job abilities that he is constantly getting roped into helping the other characters, whether it be helping Saki with her shop's finances, being a health manager for [[spoiler: the local IdolSinger]], helping Ashibashi-sensei finish his manga manuscript for the weekly deadline, work part-time in a cafe (as both waiter and cook), and even has shadier skills such as being an expert at cheating in Mahjong due to desperate need for money growing up. In combat he is shown to use damn near anything as a weapon, including being skilled in both various martial arts and even firearms, however he actually does have a specialty: he is [[spoiler: trained as a MasterSwordsman since childhood]].
** Hinagiku Katsura is this as well. She's just as hard-working as Hayate and has acquired a similarly expansive skill set that includes being highly skilled at household chores, an amazing cook that can even impress Hayate, having the best grades in the school, being good at every sport, almost always knowing whatever bit of knowledge other characters are asking for, excelling at the (surprisingly complex and important) paperwork for the academy's AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil, being the other go-to character for help in any situation, and even working part-time job at the same cafe as Hayate and fighting random demons/monsters in her spare time as an 'Ally of Justice passing through'. Unlike Hayate, she's actually completely specialized in combat as a kendo specialist, though it's hardly a problem since she can [[CallToHand summon]] [[CoolSword a magic sword]] at will so she is never unarmed. But don't doubt the awesome power of her unarmed punches when she's angry...
* [[Franchise/SailorMoon Mamoru Chiba [=/=]Tuxedo Mask]] has a number of skills and it is sometimes commented on that there is very little he ''can't'' do. It helps him be the resident BadassNormal and Franchise/{{Batman}} {{Expy}}.
* The Enforcers of MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha must, by default, excel in a wide range of abilities that will let them handle situations when they work both investigative cases and actual criminal apprehension either by themselves or with a team. Out of the heroines, this distinction falls on Fate Testarossa. She has an arsenal of close, mid-range, and long-range spells and is also a competent close range fighter. Her balanced skillset contrasts that of ranged specialist Nanoha and nuke-girl Hayate.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5403795/15/Harry-Potter-and-the-Price-of-Being-Noble Harry Potter and the Price of Being Noble]]'' Remus admitted to having "a few skills here and there" after "so many odd jobs."
* The Office of Special Resources from ''Fanfic/TheUniversiad'' is more than just a combat and special operations formation. Apart from the logistics concerns they really do handle, senior OSR operatives are trained to bear a wide range of responsibilities, including but not limited to counterintelligence, equipment testing, espionage, law enforcement, security and training.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9048823/18/Harry-Potter-and-the-Four-Heirs Harry Potter and the Four Heirs]]'' Remus ended up with a wide variety of jobs due to the limited employment possibilities for werewolves.
-->He'd helped lay mundane roads, dug ditches, learned how to plaster a wall. He'd washed cars in France, car windscreens in Germany, and worked for a commercial herbologist in Spain. Whatever he could find to do, he did.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's immortal character Lazarus Long (the source of the page quote) is a firm advocate of learning a wide variety of skills to be prepared for change (a matter of some concern for an immortal, of course).
* The aptly named Jack of ''TheEnchantedForestChronicles'', a freelance businessman who does "a little bit of everything", though he will assure you that he is ''not'' one of those giant-slaying Jacks.
* Michael from the ''KnightAndRogueSeries'' has a multitude of unusual skills ranging from carpenty to bar tending. This is mostly due to his knight errantry consisting of helping with odd jobs that need to be done as he's passing by.
* In the Star Wars novel "[[XWingSeries Wraith Squadron]]" this is featured with Falynn. However [[MasterOfNone she fails to recognize the value of this type of character]] and considers herself AlwaysSecondBest to other members of the squadron, not realizing that she is second best to several different people. In the end, her desire to prove herself and do things that no one else has done causes her to take a lot of risks, and [[spoiler: eventually gets her killed.]]
* Ben from ''Literature/TheLeonardRegime'' has had extensive military and espionage training. He continuously demonstrates skills in a variety of different areas.
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[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* ''RemingtonSteele'': he may be a fake detective, but Steele's previous life as a conman left him with a wide variety of useful skills.
* A nonfictional example: Mike Rowe from ''DirtyJobs'' tries to be this, though he often ends up closer to MasterOfNone.
* ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' has Methos who after 5000 years has held just about every possible job and has picked up just about any practical skill imaginable. This makes him different from most other immortals who seem to pick a niche and stick with it.
* Henry of ''{{Eureka}}'' has multiple jobs, including being the town mechanic, forensics expert, coroner, and skilled physicist. He even becomes the mayor.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/BruceSpringsteen has a song called "Jack of All Trades".
-->I'll mow your lawn\\
Clear the leaves out your drain\\
I'll mend your roof, to keep out the rain\\
I take the work that God provides\\
I'm a jack of all trades\\
Honey, we'll be all right.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/BlackRose: swimmer, dancer, actress, personal trainer, certified yoga instructor and professional wrestler.
* Wrestling/BobbyLashley: professional wrestler, mixed martial artist, manager, fight promoter and health food salesman.
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[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* A ''Series/SesameStreet'' Muppet sketch set in the Old West featured Adam T. Glaser, who had so many jobs that he had to be reminded what a dentist does.
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[[folder:TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Dominion}}: Hinterlands'' gives us the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Jack of All Trades]] card. It grants four common effects -- gaining a card, inspecting your deck, drawing cards, and the option to trash a card -- but is nowhere near the best at any of those.
* ''MagicTheGathering'':
** A five-color deck will have a less reliable mana base than a one- or two-color deck, but it'll have access to all the different tools that every color can offer.
** [[http://magiccards.info/cfx/en/140.html Obelisk of Alara]]. It gives you access to five different simple abilities with a wide range of uses, spanning all five colors.
* ''Murphy's World''. Sean Murphy (the man who discovered the title planet) spent a lot of time in crummy jobs, giving him a wide but shallow set of skills.
* Eando Kline of ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'', as part of being a well-built sorcerer/rogue/bard.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' supplement ''Aztlan''. Shamans of the Jaguar totem prefer to acquire a minimum level of talent in a wide array of skills rather than specializing in a limited package of talents like most characters.
* Classic ''{{Traveller}}''. The Jack of All Trades skill allowed a character to use any other skill at level 0, which meant that they would avoid penalties for lack of skill but not gain any bonuses either.
* ''TabletopGame/HollowEarthExpedition'' supplement ''Secrets of the Surface World''. The Jack of All Trades skill gives a broad familiarity with a variety of different tasks, without any formal training. The character may use any skill that they have no training in at no penalty (General Skill) or reduced penalty (Specialized Skill).
* The Factotum[[note]]Latin for "do everything!"[[/note]] class from the ''{{Dungeons and Dragons}}'' sourcebook "Dungeonscape" gets all skills as class skills, as well as limited spellcasting/turn undead/healing/sneak attack abilities and the ability to boost saving throws/attack rolls/damage rolls/trained skill checks by tapping into their pool of "Inspiration Points" (which represent their ability to spontaneously recall facts from the vast pool of knowledge they've accumulated). The end effect is that they are incredibly effective skill monkeys who can emulate any class for at least a short period of time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VideoGames]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', all of your characters can eventually use any class, not just the three that they start with. However, classes developed outside of a character's main three are relatively underpowered and may not be suited to that character's strengths. (For example, Hope ''can'' become a [[StoneWall Sentinel]] but his very low HP makes him unsuited for the role.) The costs of developing these "outside" classes are also extremely prohibitive, with the first node requiring 3000 points while you're currently using less than 1000 for your normal skills.
* Shamans and Druids in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' were nominally supposed to be viable at all four roles in a group: melee damage, ranged damage, tanking, and healing. However, it quickly became apparent that they were not Jacks of All Trades but [[MasterOfNone Masters Of None]], as the large groups necessary for endgame raid content all but guaranteed there would be a better class to fit that spot. Since then, their class development has shifted from versatility to specialization, and they have had a much better history since.
* In ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu]]'', the Master Knight class is this. It can use any weapon of the game outside of Holy Weapons, A-Ranked Light Magic, and Dark Magic. It's a strong class able to perform well in anything it can do, even though it doesn't pack the immense power the Holy Weapon wielders have.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Drakensang}}'' you can possibly create such a character by learning different abilities from different teachers. You could end up with a human swordsmaster who can also practice stealth, pickpocket, recognize plants, identify magical items, disarm traps and know of to seduce a lady. And you can do this with basically any character (however, some characters have natural disadvantages regarding certain skills).
* In ''VideoGame/RuneScape'', the PlayerCharacter is encouraged to become one of these. There's no class system; all players get to train every skill, and are rewarded for doing so. The Shattered Heart activity gives rewards in 15 different skills and has a bonus reward if you do all of them. The "Jack of Trades" aura (invoking the trope by name) gives an xp bonus if you work on lots of skills in a short time. There's lots of other ways that skills are subtly intertwined so that it's better to train them in tandem than it is to work on them separately, and of course, all the different skills are required for various quests, so anyone who wants to do all the quests will be forced to branch out.
** Can be Taken UpToEleven if you train everything, you end up being a LightningBruiser MagicKnight who [[GeniusBruiser knows something about everything, can fix anything and can kill anything that bleeds (and some things that don't)]].
* DragonQuestVI: thanks to the vocation system, characters can learn spells from every class and keep them even when changing vocation (which only affects stats).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Quentyn Quinn, hero of ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'', failed every apprenticeship he applied for, leading him to think he's not good at anything. Once he become Questor, however, it becomes clear that while he's not good at anything, he's a ''little'' bit good at ''everything'', allowing him to combine his skills in unexpected ways.
* Afkinz of ''{{Webcomic/Zoophobia}}'' is known for possessing a myriad of hidden skills and abilities, none of which he is a master of.
* ''{{Lackadaisy}}'''s Mordecai is this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WebOriginal]]
* Unlike most [[VideoReviewShow internet reviewers]], The NecroCritic openly claims no specialties for the topics of his episodes. He covers anime, movies, videogames, TV shows, [[http://necrocritic.webs.com/faq.htm "whatever strikes [his] fancy"]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* Jim Morales from ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' had a ludicrous amount of jobs before settling down as the gym teacher of Kadic Academy. His skills come in useful from time to time, particularly in one episode wherein he and Jeremie had to survive alone in the wilderness.
* ''WesternAnimation/HuckleberryHound''. Each episode of Huck's show had him in different occupations--even in caveman and Medieval times.
* ''WesternAnimation/MrBogus'' appears to be a borderline example of this trope, as nearly every episode has him in a different activity, depending on the episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'': Roger has [[UnderStatement many]] skills; it's been shown that he can quite forge armour and weapons with a high degree of skill, he has a Master's Degree in city planning, he's run restaurants, he has a bartender licence...the list goes on and on, to the point it's been lampshaded by Stan. Most of these are actually Roger's ''hobbies''; he says he does what he feels like doing. It's rarely ever explicitly said that he's '''amazing''' at what he does, just that he does a lot of things.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Homer has done so many things over the years, there's no way he '''can't''' be a Jack of All Trades.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': One episode played with this when Applejack became shamed and depressed that she didn't win even a single event in a big rodeo after confidently predicting doing well, convinced it made her a MasterOfNone. Meanwhile, everyone else was massively impressed that she placed highly in ''everything''.
** Alicorns are this on a species level, having flight, magic, and a connection with nature while the other kinds of ponies only get one.
** Fluttershy herself is a pegasus with Earth pony-like qualities.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:RealLife]]
* Most members of the military. Soldiers are trained with an "expect to fight" mentality, and everyone from clerks to medics to cooks are held to the same physical standard and trained to fight.
* [[CleverCrows Ravens and crows]] tend to be this. They have very general purpose beaks and are the most intelligent of all birds. They are highly adaptable and can eat many things.
* Anyone can be this, just do and practice many different things in life.
[[/folder]]
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