Here was the post:
People who shop want a shopping experience. I always thought Sears should turn there store’s into a Historical Sears Catalog. The Fashion section from the 70’s or 20’s. The hardware section like the farming in the 1800’s. They could change it up quarterly or yearly to make it fresh. Pick a year for Christmas and setup for that year. Have a sale based on old catalog prices. Promote the old Catalog around the store with today’s prices vs yesterday’s. Sear an American Icon would be an event and all American’s and Tourists would want to visit. The could probably sell tourist items.
This post was from a CSR who works for Pitney Bowes, posted on Linked In in response to a story about how Sears is closing stores.
The number of spelling, grammatical and sentence structure mistakes is appalling. Here’s my point:
Each time you or I post on social media, most particularly Linked In where folks look to hire or fire, you advertise your skill set. As most of us are using English here in the States, and there is (mostly) general agreement about the words we’ve all decided to use, then it makes sense to know the rules of the language. If you have questions, if you’re in doubt or if English is your second language, then for heaven’s sake run it past someone who does write well. Putting a comment like this out onto your digital resume is downright embarrassing. I sure wouldn’t hire the guy. If he were my employee I’d be spending all my time having to correct his work. Not worth it.
Worse, he makes his Fortune 1000 company look bad.
A Modicum of Kindness on Medium.com
I blast out about 140 words a minute when I write, as that is my profession. Inevitably I will have a typo or two, and since I’m the one composing, I don’t always catch them in context. When I post a new article on Medium.com, one of the great gifts is that someone with a damned good set of eyeballs and a graciousness borne of respect will send me a gentle note that I “might have meant to say….” That’s just one reason I love writing for Medium.com. However, if I have a grammatical question or if I’m not sure that the prepositional phrase has changed my verb, then I research it. I do my very best to put out good quality writing. It must have worked; I’ve won four prizes for my books, and you don’t get those kinds of accolades with crap grammar. That doesn’t make me perfect. It means I hired a talented editor AND a proofreader. I’m just not good enough to correct 250 pages of material and be perfectly accurate. While what I turn in is fairly easy to edit, I still make mistakes. As do we all.
An article from Harvard Business Review does a nice job of hitting back at the sometimes insulting “You just can’t write!” (https://hbr.org/1964/05/what-do-you-mean-i-cant-write). Anyone who has the conceit to rise in the ranks better learn to write effectively, which means different things to different people. However, communication skills- all aspects thereof- can kill you off when it comes to final selection. The higher you go, the more you influence the written and spoken competencies of your people. That directly affects productivity as well as customer communication. You can neither afford to be a boor nor can you be so verbose and full of your own eloquence that you annoy the reader. Especially the CEO.
What Happened to Our Writing Skills?
In a thoughtful Washington Post piece the author explores the impact of the No Child Left Behind law, which put a price on teacher’s heads if they didn’t ensure that their kids passed standardized tests (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/11/08/the-real-reasons-so-many-young-people-cant-write-well-today-by-an-english-teacher/?utm_term=.7e23710e78e5). The down side is that there is precious little time now spent in too many schools on thought development, analysis, composition and grammar. When you change the incentives, people shift their focus- and in this case, perhaps lose their jobs. This isn’t the only reason.
Social media has also changed how we write and think. A huge premium is placed on brevity, as a strategy to capture eyeballs. It’s all about sales. Grabbing attention. Yah, okay….but we still have to know how to write, compose, and be able to put together grants, sales proposals- and if you’re looking for venture capital money, you’d better be able to pen a compelling argument. The heart and soul of business is communication. For those of us who write books, novels, and publish articles, if we think we’re going to get paid, it had better be worth reading. That means don’t insult Dear Reader with poor grammar, lousy spelling and fractured sentence structure, which, to a thoughtful person, just hurts the brain.
Your Online Digital Resume
When people post on Linked In, which is generally considered to be a hotspot for job searchers and folks who are hiring, they are publicly displaying their skills,or lack thereof. The man above was not the only one whose posts were full of mistakes. People write in a hurry (as I do) but then don’t check (I’d better). In some cases, this can backfire badly. As someone who has been in a position to hire, I do my due diligence on a candidate. That means whatever someone has put out on the Internet is fair game. That includes everything from Trump stumpers to Trump haters and all the political divisiveness, the drunken Facebook posts from Costa Rica, to poorly-written general comments on a business topic. Makes no difference. Every bit of it is fodder that gets taken into account prior to a hire.
I recently got international work based on my Linked In articles and profile which simply underscores my point. People who are in a position to offer us opportunities are paying attention.
While I emphatically disagree with the dissolution of teaching cursive (and to add to that, taking down analog clocks because kids have no clue), that doesn’t make me right. However we need to write. And write well. Not only does that give us confidence, it underscores our competence. In all fairness, not everyone is a born writer- and for those of us for whom it appears to be effortless, it is still hard slogging work. Intelligence wears a great many faces, from physical to spatial to math to muscular. However we all must be able to communicate. Brushing up on our basics is the least we can do, or otherwise, hire someone who can at least make us legible, if not compelling. Sometimes the best writers can’t spell worth a damn or their grammar sucks. That’s why we hire editors, proof readers, and always get other eyeballs on our work.
It’s not enough just to take a deep breath, walk away from our desks, cool down and then reconsider what we post, particularly if it’s on a hot topic. That’s just the first step towards a more professional demeanor. The next is to ensure that anything that bears the stamp of our signature sheds positive light on our ability to write. That takes hard work, even for us who love to do it.
I will always be an aspiring writer, because forever there will be people far more eloquent, talented and able than I. But for my part, if I’m going to put something in the public eye, I’ll do my best to give Dear Reader as thoughtful and considered an experience as I can. I owe anyone who gives me the honor of their eyeballs that. And so should we all.