If you don’t have any skills, then get some.


Dating is like an endless job interview. The questions asked each other by a prospective couple tend to start casually with “What’s your favourite colour? Do you enjoy pizza?” and then move to more meaningful topics like “What do you study?” “Tell me about your job!”

Back in my dating school days I’d post-mortem my bad dates with my favourite roomie and best gal pal Claire. Claire had disastrous dates too, and needed my shoulder when things went wacky or weirdly wrong.

Claire’s 23-minute disaster date with “Mark” (not his real name) was my favourite of her dating debacles.

bad date

We met Mark at a house party over a few beers. The guy was no doubt the hottest piece at that place, and within 15 minutes of arriving Claire made a beeline right into his personal space.

Gorgeous, confident and extroverted, Claire had no problem getting Mark’s digits (that’s what we used to call a landline phone number, kiddies) and returned home with me knowing she had a date secured for next Saturday.

As an introverted computer science student, I was always in awe of Claire’s ability to ‘get the digits.’ She may have been a new business school grad, but her recent experience at a local advertising firm gave her the professional polish most gals in their early twenties could only dream about.

When Saturday arrived, we both buzzed with excitement. Together we picked Claire’s perfect first date outfit, giggled over a glass of bubbly, and daydreamed about her hot date.

Claire left our apartment with a spring in her step and plenty of time to meet Mark downtown.


Back at home I slipped into my PJs and settled in for a hot date with a DDD GNU Debugger to unbork my broken programming code. “Getting lucky” for me would involve finding a fellow comp sci student on IRC Chat willing to review the algorithm that was my failing homework. I was a sexy beast.

Claire didn’t give me much time to get my assignment done though — she was back from her date before I could logon to my chat window. The girl was agitated.

I’ll do my best to recall this 18ish-year-old conversation.

Me: Whaaaaat happened?

Claire: He whined and cried the whole time.

Me: Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Claire: We ordered drinks. He asked about my education and my job. I talked about advertising. He just graduated with a history-of-something-degree and started crying.

He kept saying, “I have no skills!”

Me: Like, no employable work skills?

Claire: Yeah. Again and again. “I have no skills.”

Me: Not a single skill?

Claire: Cute but stupid — not what I’m looking for. I told him, “If you don’t have any skills, then get some.” I paid the bill and left.

Me: Can I laugh?

Claire: Dude needs to get on the skills train. Speaking of which, how’s your algorithm?

Me: Skillfully busted. Just like your date.

Claire wasn’t one to mince words or dwell on perceived shortcomings. She might pay for your drink, though.

So where am I going with this?

I can’t fix your bad date. Sorry.

But my bestie gal pal had something figured out pretty early on. If you aren’t happy with your situation in life then you need to stop whining about your circumstance and fix it.

If you don’t have any skills, then get some.

Getting “skills” these days is very possible. There’s a million online courses (some free) available on this thing called the interweb to help you get some. I wrote about How to enhance your education years ago. I also created a skills inventory worksheet to help you see your skills through your disbelief. My guess is you have skills — you just need to acknowledge them and believe in yourself.

My How to write a resume series is still crazy popular with people looking for a laugh (and some help) while looking for work.

Bottom Line: The hottest guy at the party possibly has the lowest self esteem. Maybe don’t date him. 😉 Also, get some hireable skills.



  1. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction November 22, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Yep! Whenever I take on a new project at work, I figure out how this will enhance my resume/CV.

    By the way, evenings in being a nerdy comp sci student sound eerily similar to a nerdy chemistry student trying to figure out where their quantum mechanics homework went wrong.

  2. Sarah November 23, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Your title says it all. Even pre-internet, learning a new skill could be as simple as going to the library. Now you don’t even have to leave your house. There are so many classes available online for free, there is really no need to pay for one unless you just need the official course credit. Some free online classes even offer a certificate of completion. I’m currently learning to develop android apps through a combination of library books and online coursework. All completely free. Well, except for my internet which I would be paying for anyway. Even if I didn’t have internet, my library let’s cardholders use the computer 2 hours a day for free. There really is no good excuse.

  3. Ruth Cooke November 23, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Great article, Kerry! It’s so true that gaining new skills these days is easier than it ever has been before, and for a learning junkie like me, that’s been a godsend.

    But what I find sad about the story is the fact that Mark had plenty of skills — he DID manage to get a university education, after all, and anyone who does that has skills that could be used to earn a living and contribute to society. He just didn’t value what he had.

    In a way, that’s worse than not having any skills at all — kind of like buying a new car because your Toyota Yaris isn’t a Cadillac.

  4. […] If you don’t have any skills, then get some […]

  5. Tahnya Kristina January 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Bad dates are the worst. Thank goodness I haven’t been on one in almost 14 years because my BF and I always have fun. But when I was younger I went on a date with a guy who brought me a happy meal toy instead of flowers…the date only lasted 20 minutes.

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  7. Guy March 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    From a man’s perspective, a woman who has no unique personality is the equivalent of a whiny, unskilled guy. Four dates, four different girls, had the same generic personality. Different levels of attractiveness, same brain. Travel, education, yoga, wine, and some nonsense about foodie blogs. It’s like they rely on everything external to themselves to establish who they are, but it’s all the same.
    I’m a fun guy who enjoys quirky and fun people. I’m not interested in someone who has to rely on me to be the personality in the relationship. So to the ladies looking for a dateable guy, your accomplishments are inconsequential. WeI don’t care if you’re a little thick or a super model. Be a unique person.

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