"How is the job search going?" my wife asked.
Judith is very supportive. Had their husbands remained unemployed for the last fourteen years, many wives would have become dispirited.
"Great," I answered. "I took your advice and updated my skills on LinkedIn to make them appear more relevant."
"That's terrific. What skills did you add?"
"Sucking up," I answered.
"It's one of the most valuable skills in today's workplace," I said. "The most successful of my business school classmates were unspeakable suck ups."
"I want to be supportive, but should you list sucking up as one of your skills?"
"I get your point. Sucking up sounds coarse. Instead I will list flattery and ingratiation. I should also be more specific--I posses the facility to flatter bosses and ingratiate myself with board members."
"Did you add any other skills?" she asked.
"Blaming others for failure and grabbing credit for success," I answered. "These are critical skill, so critical they should be taught at all business schools. Flattery, blaming others and grabbing credit are the foundation of a successful corporate career. Having mastered these, business schools should impart only (1) a smattering of accounting and (2) the insight that nobody knows anything regarding marketing and advertising.
Ignoring my rant, my wife asked if I could list interpersonal skills.
"¿Quién sabe?" I answered.
"Why ware you asking 'who knows?' in Spanish?
"I was thinking about my interpersonal skill at business meetings. I have the ability to appear thoughtful and wise in meetings by interjecting, at a critical moment, ¿Quién sabe?"
"I have many interpersonal meeting skills. At new product introduction meetings when someone mentions the first mover advantage. I sagely note, 'While the early bird gets the worm, the early worm gets eaten.'"
I have dozens of these meeting stoppers 'People who live in glass houses should dress well.' 'You can break eggs without making omelets.' 'The race is not to the wise.'"
Judith was not impressed. "Do you have accounting skills you could list?" she asked.
"I made a career of cooking the books," I replied. "I can hide vast losses with a single entry. Even post Enron, I can make earnings-per-share dance the Macarena and then spit Gewürztraminer in your eye."
Judith advised that while these were probably valuable skills, I might not want to advertise them. "Why don't you list jargon? You always said that when you didn't know what you were talking about, which is usually the case, you could disguise your ignorance by employing jargon."
"Great advice," I responded.
I just listed new skills on LinkedIn:
My core competencies comprise skill sets in:
• Scalable, customer focused, process management
• Implementation of best practices to engender high quality value added services
• Leveraging value propositions to amplify brand DNA and enrich brand equity
• Pro-active drilling down to benchmark global foot prints
• Thinking outside the box to apply metrics and cutting edge methodologies to re-engineer world class bandwidth