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The Lost Art of Reading


"Read Operating Instructions", non s...

“Read Operating Instructions”, non standard version, black margin removed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I sent out an announcement to the jobseekers on my distribution list, announcing the topic of an upcoming job club. At the bottom of this two-paragraph note is listed where, when and what time the event is to be held. Half an hour later I get a reply asking where the job club would be. I can see the answer at the bottom of the message, without even scrolling down, and wonder why she didn’t see it too.

When people are in a hurry reading can be tedious and slow. In my Perfecting Applications classes, there is an exercise I love to conduct. I hand out a page with 10 questions on it and give them NO MORE than 5 minutes to complete it. I tell them to read ALL the directions before starting. This is the exercise:

Please complete the form below. Do not complete any questions until you have read all of the questions. You should use a blue or black ink pen. If words have to be written out, please print them. Do not leave any spaces blank, except as instructed. Check spelling carefully and print neatly so the material can be read. You have five minutes to complete all of the questions.

  1. What is your name? ____________________
  2. What is the occupation in which you are seeking employment?____________________________
  3. Do you think this is the kind of work you will want to do the rest of your life?             Y          N
  4. Does job hunting make you nervous?                                                                        Y          N
  5. Do you generally take the time to write neatly?                                                        Y          N
  6. Please list the occupations in which you are planning to seek employment in the order of highest interest. List years of experience you have next to your listed occupations. _____________________________________________________________________
  7. Do not complete any answers on this form except for number ten (10).
  8. Are you looking forward to job hunting?                                                                    Y          N
  9. Have you ever job hunted before?                                                                             Y          N
  10. Did you read the instructions before you completed the form?                                  Y          N

This exercise emphasizes the fact that it is hard to take time to read all directions if you feel you are under pressure. However, if you do not read all of the directions, you may end up doing things that are unnecessary and time consuming. Employers look at that sort of thing. Do you read the directions? Or do you end up doing things the hard way?


About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.


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