Reading the news (or even your email) can be distressing and can drive one to the point of despondency. It can also be fun. It’s especially fun when people say or write silly stuff and the reporter has to write “[sic]” after a misspelling or stupid comments in the original transcript. “[Sic]” technically means “Thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally.” Said more simply, it’s a way for the author of the article to point out the person they’re quoting can’t spell quite as well as they can or to indicate the speaker speaks funny.
To be clear, I never want to be [sic]. Being [sic] means I forgot to hit the spell check button before I put something in the pubic [sic] domain (See? It can be funny!). It means I’ve been less than attentive to basic tenants [sic] of professionalism. It reflects poorly on me and really tests the patients [sic] of my readers. In some cases, it reflects a certain level of disrespect for my audience as it implies they’re not even important enough for me to spell check before presenting an idea to them. At the very least it indicates I don’t have enough spare change to buy a pocket dictionary or buy web access to get to dictionary.com.
I’m not saying I’m bettor [sic] than people who misspell things. I’m simply trying to point out that the one minute you save by not proofreading something costs you immeasurably in terms of your own personal brand equity. I saw a massage [sic] the other day where the author was exhorting people to do their diligence on companies before interviewing with them because “failing to do so can undermine your creditability [sic].” Hmmmm. I’m thinking using “creditability” instead of “credibility” undermines your credibility more than not doing your diligence, no?
Take a look at your resume. Is it [sic]k? Are there misspellings? I know I’ve covered some basic mistakes in “Two Big Resume Writing Boo Boos” but this mistake is the most basic of all. If your resume is riddled with misspellings, some anal-retentive hiring manager will notice and chuck it in the reject pile. How about that email to your boss’ boss where you’re recommending you need to confiscate [sic] your team better because their salaries are well below market rates? I’m betting that will have some impact on the decision your boss’ boss makes about your year-end confiscation [sic].
As our economy continues to transition to a world full of knowledge workers, people get [sic]ker and [sic]ker. Emails and pages fly at light speed across crackberries and laptops. We spend more time in front of a screen than in front of our families. Our online personas begin to define us as individuals. If your persona is [sic]kly, that’s how the world will begin to perceive your performance.
And being [sic]k doesn’t only mean misspellings. It can also be the pure bastardization of our language. This includes using the wrong word. One of my all time favorites? A memo that came from HR via email. They were trying to instruct us on proper interviewing techniques (essentially “do’s” and “don’ts”). One bullet point read “when interviewing, don’t ask questions that are personnel [sic].” I couldn’t resist. I wrote back and asked “during all interviews, aren’t ALL questions about personnel?” They didn’t get the joke. Actually, after that initial email, they BECAME the joke.
Please, for your own sake, take the extra couple of minutes to proofread your writings. If not, you’ll pay your pennants [sic] (GO TRIBE! Yes, I’m a Cleveland Indians fan) at sum [sic] point in your career.
As always, I submit these perspectives most hum billy (that’s a drunk from the Ozarks who sits on his porch and sings without articulating words) [sic].
– Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC