Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Your Handwriting May Impact Your Job

What does your handwriting say to your boss?

You might be surprised to learn just how much. A story in today's Wall Street Journal discusses how forming letters is key to developing the brain. It quotes an education professor noting that messy handwriting can have "ramifications."

For example, good handwriting "can take a generic classroom test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad penmanship could tank it to the 16th," the story notes.

"There is a reader effect that is insidious," notes Dr. Steve Graham of Vanderbilt University. "People judge the quality of your ideas based on your handwriting."

That's something I learned when doing research for my book. I interviewed several bosses, who said they often couldn't read the handwritten notes of younger employees.

Noted one:

“Bosses are under such time pressure. If I have three people write a report and only one of them does it neatly and with proper style, then I know I don’t have to work that hard with that person to get it ready for my boss. Yes, everyone should look for the diamond in the rough, but there are only 24 hours in a day, and we’re already working 24/7. We just don’t have the time to work with someone a lot.”

Another told me she was frustrated because employees relied so much on computer that when it came time to write a simple note or take a message by hand, they were incapable of doing it.

Then, there's the whole issue of applying for a job. While much of it is done online, some applications are completed by hand . What about the paperwork you have to fill out once you're hired? If your boss or human resources can't read your handwriting, how might that impact your job chances or future career?

How important do you think handwriting is in the workplace today?


Anonymous said...

This is a terrifying fact of the way society is going right now. Children in schools are not having to be good at penmanship and they continue to sumbit every assignment online or type papers. The art of penmanship has been lost in the last 10 years and I know that it will continue to degenerate. My 10 year old cousin, Paris, has horrible penmanship but in her school, everything is done with the aid of a computer. When I was in school my mother was furious that they were not teaching cursive to me in addition to manuscript; now most schools do not even encourage furthering their penmanship skills instead of turning to a computer. Thanks for sharing this article

Anita said...

I know that many students these days don't even know how to use cursive writing...they even print their signature! Not sure what I'd think if I saw one of my employees unable to sign his or her name...
Thanks for your comments.