Literacy Might Be a Good First Step

I’ve received messages and comments that were barely literate, but this one takes the cake.

I just received the following e-mail message from someone who had likely read one or more of my posts about flying helicopters or the helicopter job market:

Bare in mind that I have never flown a acraft of any type before…… I want to get into flying a turbine helicopter (of my owne) and I live in Mississippi. Everything I find online about schools is very, for lack of a better term eather full of crap and or confusing as all hell. and there are more schools than you can shake a stick at, but all have a list of requierments a mile long just to take a class. I ask you because you are already a pilot, and might atlaest be able to give me a guide line and rough idea with out all the bullcrap to confuse it. I need to know what I have to do to get a helicopter pilot licence, both for comercial and privet flying. where I can go to do so. and a high ball estimit of what it will cost me. could you please help me on this matter?

I did not edit the above. This is exactly how I received it, copied and pasted into my blog editing software.

Those of you who don’t see a problem with the above…I have one question: what the hell are you doing here? My writing must seem like Greek to you, since I tend to write at a Grade 8 level or higher.

While I don’t know anything about the age and background of the author of the above (other than the tell-tale Mississippi comment), I like to think that he’s in at least eighth grade. (And, for the record, although I live in Arizona, I didn’t go to school here.)

I had to read it three times to understand what he was getting at. I can see why he finds online information “confusing as hell” — his understanding of properly spelled words in the English language is likely minimal.

This is the kind of e-mail I get sometimes.

You know, I want to help people achieve their dreams. I really do. That’s one of the reasons I blog about the things I do. I can do these things, so it follows that other people can, too.

But I can’t tell people how to perform miracles.

This guy is doomed before he starts. I know that if I were hiring and someone sent me an e-mail or cover letter or (heaven forbid) resume with as many errors as the above message, I wouldn’t even bother to answer it. This guy’s failure to put together a single error-free sentence makes me wonder how he’ll fare when it’s time to study the POH (that’s Pilot Operating Handbook) for the turbine helicopter he wants to fly.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you cannot get anywhere in life without basic communication skills — including writing skills. These days, with spelling and grammar checkers built into half the writing software out there, there’s no reason to send out a communication like the one above.

You want a career as a pilot — or anything else? Learn how to communicate first.

And, for the record, it is not my intention to ridicule the author of the above. If I wanted to, I would have included his name and e-mail. (Even I’m not mean enough to do that.) I’m just using his communication as an example. I’m hoping that my e-mailed response to him — that it’ll cost $40K to $80K to get the ratings he needs to fly helicopters for a living — scares him into more reasonable aspirations.

Like getting his GED.

What do you think?