Proper grammar will assist your starting-over process, after the age of 50.
Good grammar counts!
Full disclosure: The above sentence isn’t grammatically correct. It should read, “Proper grammar utilization is imperative!”
As in, it can be the difference between getting that second interview or even getting a second date.
Let’s all take a second to thank the Grammatical Gods that I’m not here to provide instructional posts on proper grammar utilization.
Talk about torturous!
I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned along way, and how it applies to starting over, after 50.
Let’s jump right in. . .
So, how do you know if you’re clueless or hitting it out of the park, when it comes to utilizing proper grammar, in your everyday conversation?
First, if people are correcting your speech, as you speak, that’s a dead giveaway. Inhale deeply. Read the next few lines.
This is perfect spot to point out that no one likes a “grammar warrior.”
There’s a stark, solid line you should never cross — which is so blatant, it’s visible from the I.S.S. — and that line coincides with one simple rule:
If the person speaking hasn’t asked for your help with their grammar, zip it.
As difficult as that may be, shut your trap.
You may be unintentionally embarrassing someone and/or hurting their feelings.
Truly, when you’re an interjecting “grammar warrior,” all you’re doing is subconsciously attempting to make yourself feel and appear superior…
…basically, you’re being a pompous asshole.
“Wait. What did you say!?!?”
Take another deep breath.
Sure, there are outlying caveats to this rule.
Let’s say, you’re raising kids, and you don’t want them to spew sentences like; “I ain’t never seen nothing like that before.” Then, it’s acceptable to correct them while they speak.
Another example: You have a colleague that’s written an important email, and (s)he has asked you to proofread it. Then, it’s acceptable to correct their grammar, but only in that email.
Their one-time request is just that. It is not a license to correct them for all of eternity.
Tread lightly, young(ish) Grasshopper.
Finally, let’s say you have a colleague who doesn’t utilize proper grammar – ever – and you really can’t stand the S.O.B.
Let him swing from the grammatically-incorrect rafters and hang himself.
It’s not your life’s mission to correct improper grammar, and he never asked for your help.
Moving on . . .
In the corporate world, I’ve found that a lot of companies no longer place an emphasis of importance upon proper grammar, and that’s a shame; Isn’t it?
Some may say it’s a sign of the times, in which we now live.
To that, my reply is an emphatic, “Nope!”
Unless you’re a rapper, work within the music industry, or you’re a bona fide YouTube “celebrity,” (I could not use the word “Celebrity” more loosely), proper grammatical utilization is necessary.
If you’re interviewing for a new position, and the Hiring Manager is a professional that is seeking someone who will represent the company, their department and them in a well-written, well-spoken fashion, then proper grammar is imperative.
And if you don’t give a flying fig about whether or not your grammar is above par, why are you still reading this?
If you’re truly interested in writing and speaking well, Grammarly.com is a great web-based extension that will highlight probable corrections, in everything you write/post on the web. It also has an extension that is applicable to Microsoft documents/applications, as well.
Additionally, there are many sites that allow you to “check and test” your grammar for free. Here are a few of those links:
“What – on God’s green Earth – does this have to do with starting over after 50?” you may be asking yourself…
You’re reinventing yourself, remember?
You’re focusing on the positive.
You’re moving forward.
You’re owning your mistakes (a.k.a. “owning your shit”).
You’re taking responsibility for yourself and your actions.
Not to mention . . . you’re going to be meeting new people...
Whether it’s through work, dating or just moving to a new town, you’re going to be interacting with new people.
Utilizing proper grammar in your everyday life can and will assist you in this starting-over endeavor.
It presents the opportunity to make a great first impression.
Did you know…?
People that you’re meeting for the first time form their initial impression of you within the first 2-5 seconds.
I’m not pulling that stat out of thin air. That’s a scientific fact. Why not start over with the mindset that you’ll put your best foot forward, each and every time?
Positive vibes = positive philosophy = positive thoughts = positive actions.
Grammatical usage within the workplace is noticed. Not necessarily by everyone, but it is noticed.
I once had a manager who couldn’t discern the difference between “its” and “it’s.”
She’d incorrectly use “its” in nearly every email she sent, and it was an embarrassment to our entire department.
Did Corporate America care?
Not even a little bit.
I hear she’s since been promoted several times and is now “Somebody” within that corporate cog-and-wheel system.
She also got divorced, got bigger boobs and got started dating the upper echelon of said cog-and-wheel management – right after the ink on her divorce decree dried – and she relocated her significantly-larger boobs to the corporate offices in Texas.
All true facts.
Hey, we all know EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, right?
Regardless, am I confident that the VPs she answers to have noticed?
Yep, they’ve noticed everything; Humongous boobs included.
Am I equally confident that those very same VPs take her “Podunk slang” and obvious grammatical faux pas into consideration when assigning her to particular tasks and/or meetings?
If you’re able to construct a complete and grammatically-correct sentence and/or email, your subordinates will notice.
The opposite is equally true.
If I respected that old manager of mine, would I have even mentioned her?
Not so much.
Hey, Judgy McJudgerson . . . Dial It Back A Notch, Would Ya?
One day, while doing my little, remote $13/Hr job, my Team Lead called me to review some of the forms that I’d been preparing.
She was pleasant…
…Easy to talk to…
…Kind and complimentary toward me and my work, in general.
She asked me to pull up of a few of the forms I’d completed, so that we could review them together.
Then she said, “Them are the ones you want to get fixed.”
Insert huge eyeroll here.
In that moment, my brain almost immediately checked out, and I thought to myself, “How am I working for this person?”
She went on to tell me that pre-Covid she was a well-paid sales representative, earning $35-$50/Hr.
I instantly doubted her – based solely upon how she was speaking to me.
In those seconds, since she’d spoken, I had to remind myself that we did not all have the same educational background and life experiences.
Perhaps, sales reps in Nebraska make GREAT money, regardless of how they speak, because it’s an accepted “local” way of speaking.
What the hell did I know?
The only thing I knew for sure was that I was judging a woman, based upon her grammar, and nothing else.
I hadn’t taken into consideration that – maybe – she was “dumbing it down” for me, because she was accustomed to chatting with $13/Hr job holders all day, every day, in this post-Covid job market.
How was I to know?
Also, I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that what was important to me – how well I represent myself, through my speech and written word – may not make a hill of beans to someone else.
And guess what?
It was, in that moment, that I realized that this kind woman was also starting over, after the age of 50.
Not only that, she was smart enough to get the remote job before I was, and she’d already worked her way up to Team Lead.
As we chatted, she told me that this job had eliminated her 40-mile commute to and from her pre-Covid, former job, and she was earning enough to still make her mortgage payment.
She was happy to have the opportunity, and she was doing her very best to convey that same message to me.
Happily, I learned a little from that kind voice on the telephone that day, and I’m grateful for it.
Although I’ll probably never digress on the importance that I, personally, place on proper grammar, who the heck am I to impart that criticism upon a complete stranger – especially someone who is actually being kind to me?
Grammar: It’s important, but it’s not everything.
Keep in mind, though, that there are a ton of people out there that will not take a second to step back, acknowledge and reflect upon their instant judgement of you.
They’ve already made up their mind, in those first 2-5 seconds.
So why not make up your mind that you’re going to make a great first impression?
Restart. Refocus. Reinvent.
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