Saturday, October 23, 2004

First impressions

I've had many first 'encounters' lately. When I say 'encounters', I don't mean of the 'behind the grocery store hand-off at 3 am' type, but more of the email and phone variety. And just for the record, email can be just as creepy as a dark trash-strewn abandoned warehouse. At least, over email, you can't get your internal bits re-arranged quite so easily, however on email, one can be exposed to that dreaded bleeding eyeball syndrome.

Some of the emails I've received lately are badly spelled/capitalized/punctuated. As a writer, this tortures my teeth in ways my dentist hasn't even dreamed up. I haven't figured out whether these emails are being written in haste or is there a "we're just getting to know each other" attitude that makes it okay not even to capitalize the word 'I' or end sentences with a period. I think capitalizing 'I' and using a period are basic requirements; it's the khakis and button-down-shirt minimum requirement of "getting to know you."

At first I thought I was just being incredibly snobby because, some of you know, I seriously can be, but then I realized, few people will show up for a job interview in shorts and a muscle-shirt (well, unless it's an interview for Wrestlemania, I suppose) and in this case, the first email is akin to the first handshake and determines if I want to get to know a person better.

I'm not expecting Hemmingway, but I do expect people will take the time -- if they are truly interested and committed to getting to know me and want to make an impression -- to write a coherent, spell-checked letter; in this day and age of Micro$oft dictating grammar and spelling, there is no reason to send off a badly edited letter -- even in haste (and if you're boycotting Micro$oft, I understand, but let me direct you to or a nice paper copy of Webster's).

I understand writing isn't everyone's forte, but if you tell me you're a doctor, you better well be able to spell the name of your hometown* or I'm not going want to be anywhere near your examining room because I'm going to worry you'll cut me open and then leave a sponge or scapel blade inside of me, because you were too busy to double-check. This is the first impression I received, despite the Ivy League resume and the income potential (actually, I was creeped out by the income potential; like in an interview, you never talk money on the first contact. That's just weird, dude).

Link of the day: E-Mail Etiquette.

*And for the record, it's C-H-A-T-T-A-N-O-O-G-A.**

**Thanks, Google!

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