Friday, September 10, 2010

Thanks for Nothing

I have never tried acid. This is why:

Actually, I wish I could say I never tried acid-washed jeans, but that would be a lie. I was a teen in the 80s; I not only wore them- I pegged them. However, I really have never tried acid, the drug. And this is really why:

One day, when I was in my early teens my mom told me about one of her tennis buddies who did acid back in the 60s. Apparently, it totally fried his brain, and he had to relearn how to walk and talk. This scared the shit out of me, so I never tried acid.

An actual horror story from someone you know is so much more effective than the facts and statistics that they feed you in school, don’t you think?

This is why I was so happy when the director of my campus shared this story with me:

Our campus has a career fair at the beginning of every quarter where employers come and hire our students. One of our students got hired, and as etiquette dictates, she mailed her future employer a thank you letter. The thank you letter, however, contained several grammar errors, so they unhired her.

I wasn’t happy that they unhired her; I was happy because finally, instead of hoping they'd just take my word for it, I had a real live story to prove to my students that grammar really does impact their lives.

So, yesterday, I relayed the story to my class.

Did they all bow in reverence to the comma? Did they vow to carry a pocket dictionary at all times? No. They got pissed:

“That’s not fair!”
“She was just trying to be nice!”
“I wouldn’t want to work for them anyways!”

I’m guessing that my story won’t herald in a golden era of grammar awareness, but rather a decrease in thank you notes.


Clarissa Draper said...

Backfired! Well, at least you never fried your brain on acid. Funny post.


Rick said...

Just wanted to say thanks for all the great blog posts! You are totally rad! They have really helped I alot!

Missed Periods said...

Dear Rick,

You have one hour to pack up your desk and say your goodbyes.

Janet Johnson said...

Students just don't get it. How you use grammar definitely says something about you. Now I have the story to share! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Kids need to understand that good grammar is seen as professionalism. Maybe one day...

I've never tried acid-jeans or acid the drug. Both scare the crap out of me. :o

Wendy Ramer said...

Sadly enough, you're right. Your anecdote will strongly discourage good manners. I, however, will use this story in my classroom and see what kind of reaction I get. Will keep you posted.

Boonie S said...

Acid has one awful side effect that should discourage anyone from using it - it wears off.
Love the "Thank-you note' story.

Have a nice day, Boonie

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Aww, sad reaction! Well, I'll try extra hard to use correct grammar in my thank-you notes from now on. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Students that age don't quite understand consequences for their actions and personal responsibility. But maybe they'll keep this story in the back of their mind, so they won't write:

Deer employer,

i am sooo happy to work for you're company. Where going to have a grate time. LOL.



DEZMOND said...

why would they unhire her just because of the few grammar mistakes???

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, Missed. Do you suspect that the poor grammar on television, in magazines and on products, or the complete disregard for the rules in general has anything to do with this generation doing so badly with this subject?
I am an Administrative Supervisor for a globably known company and I have found myself shcoked by the disgraceful e-mails and procedures written up by upper management. On ocassion I have attempted to "help" some of these, only to be told that it either was unimportant or that there was nothing wrong with their writing in the first place.
I know I sometimes need to consult writing rules or bow to my editor, but I really cannot believe some of the things that I have read.
Speaking of help, since I see you have a desk open (sorry, Rick), is it too late to add this class?

Meg O. said...

Whoops. Backfired. Oh well. It's amazing how some of the things we are crazy about and think it'll work so well in class to prove a point will totally backfire. Does it make you feel any better that your story impacted me? By the way, I received a pre-printed thank you note in the mail from a wedding I attended last year. It read, "Thank you for your generous support to make our wedding the best wedding ever!" It made me really upset. I was pissed. I hand wrote every single thank you note for my wedding (with proper grammar and spelling) making sure it was thoughtful and appreciative. People suck at thank you notes these days. Except for me.... and probably you.

Anonymous said...

Ouch, that's painful. Writing thank you notes is something that is becoming less and less common these days so to lose a job because of spelling and grammar mistakes has got to sting. I remember the first thank you letter I got from a student I interviewed. Of the 12 kids that I interviewed for the job, she was the only one who took the time to write a thank you card! I doubt anyone would get 'unhired' for not writing a thank you letter, so sadly, she would have been better off not doing anything at all. - G