Re: “Poor spelling can have dire consequences,” Jan. 24.
I couldn’t agree that poor spelling can have dire consequences. Not only are spelling skills heading south, but one can also include grammar and punctuation in the same boat. But poor spelling can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.
I had always wanted to be a policeman, and upon graduation from an English grammar school in the 1950s, I presented myself at the local county constabulary for an interview with the chief constable, which would include a medical and various knowledge tests. I had all the right attributes: six feet tall with athletic build, usually near the top of the class in exams. I had confidence that success was a certainty.
But I failed the dictation test because of poor spelling. The chief said he would be happy to retest me if I spent a few weeks improving my spelling skills.
I could not see why it was so important that a police officer needed to be a good speller, and so I went into the hotel industry. I came to Canada to pursue that career and after a few years, I found myself in a senior human resource position, negotiating union collective agreements which, among other things, required careful attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation!
In retrospect, I was fortunate to have failed at spelling, because I would probably not have enjoyed my life in the police force as much as the career I eventually had.
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