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Flip Side: How I learned to stop worrying about my skills and go out and buy a skill set.
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New York Daily News cover on Oct. 31 showing the massive drill that pierced a subway tunnel.

Flip Side: How I learned to stop worrying about my skills and go out and buy a skill set.

A shocking lack of skills is killing the American economy. No one in corporate America has any skills. No one! They have only skill sets. Worse, skills are ignored in recruiting. Employers focus exclusively on skill sets.

In my job search, employment applications always asked me to describe my skill set.  Lacking a full and comprehensive skill set, I resorted to Churchillian rhetoric. “I have nothing to offer,” I wrote, “but blood sets, toil sets, tear sets, and sweat suits.”

Receiving no replies, I realized that to find gainful employment I must first acquire a skill set. Madison Park Hardware had none in stock. They sold me a drill-bit set and suggested I try Home Depot.

With the drill-bit set I could now include “drilling down” in my skill set. I was planning a trip to Home Depot when I heard a business guru speak of “opportunity sets” and “optionality sets.” Here I was desperately tiring to secure a full skill set only to learn that I also needed opportunity sets and optionality sets. I have some opportunities and options but nothing close to full sets.

How could I obtain opportunity sets and optionality sets? I was disappointed to find that they were neither advertised on late night television nor awarded by for-profit universities. Lacking opportunity sets and optionality sets, I ceased looking for work. I became depressed and started drinking heavily. After I hit bottom I joined a twelve-step program that eventually gave me a new wisdom set.

I learned that:

The race set is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong set,
neither yet the bread set to the wise,
nor yet the riches set to men whose skill sets comprise understanding,
nor yet the favor set to men with actionable skill sets;
but the time and chance sets happeneth to all sets.

My new wisdom set, gave me the confidence to again embark on a job search. On a recent job application I wrote:

“My skill sets bedrocks on synergistically leveraging knowledge capital and relationship capital to bootstrap blue ocean opportunity sets into value-add paradigms by change-agenting bandwidth expansion. I also possess a 21 Piece Titanium Drill Bit Set.”

They called immediately for an interview. Tomorrow, I will check eBay for deals on used opportunity and optionality sets.


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