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Functionally Illiterate
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It takes me aback--I just discovered today that one of the people who works for me is functionally illiterate.

We are geographically remote, one from another, spread out all over 500 square miles. The way we keep in touch is by email and fax and telephone, but primarily by email.

Using email requires the ability to read with comprehension and to write and spell well enough to communicate one's idea.

This person's supervisor moved out of the area, so the employee is alone (for a while), completely responsible for running the subdivision--and answering my emails.

I sent three emails, one vital to our operation, as it comes under the aegis of the union contract.

The employee didn't respond. At all. I re-sent the email with a "high priority" marking.

Still no response.

I sent it a third time (getting stubborn now) with a cc: to our mutual manager. And a reprimand therein.

I got an email back so poorly written that I could not understand it. A third grade child can write better than that (I know; I taught third grade.)

I now realize that this person is functionally illiterate; hence, the lack of earlier response. I know how the tests for the position got passed successfully--a lot of "tutoring" going on by a person, now retired, of employees clearly unsuitable for supervisory positions, then promoted into those positions by that same person.

No wonder we have wave after wave of mediocre workmanship and decision-making.

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