Do you have spellcheck blindness?

Dr. Joseph Barber

We have all experienced the phenomenon of working so hard on a particular document that it becomes almost impossible to proofread it effectively. Your brain is so good at figuring out what you are trying to say, that it doesn’t bother to alert you to some minor spelling mistake – you get “spellcheck blindness”. You will spend an awfully long time looking at your resume/CV and cover letter, or at least at a large number of very similar versions of these documents, and the risk of spellcheck blindness becomes quite significant. If there is one type of document that you really want to be perfect, then it will definitely be the one you are sending to an employer where you are highlighting your “attention to detail”. So, stop by Career Services to get a fresh look at your materials, and we’ll be happy to do some proofreading for you.

You definitely want an error-free set of job application materials. However, while we are talking about spellcheck blindness, you might be interested in just how effective your brain is at processing meaning from text – even if that text is somewhat chaotic. You can find a good example of this below, where I have provided two versions of the same poem (which is actually not a bad career advice type of poem). Try getting through the first version, but you can always skip down to the bottom to see the original.

‘if’ by rrdayud kipilng

If you can keep yuor haed wehn all aobut you
Are lnsiog thiers and bianmlg it on you,
If you can turst yusrleof wehn all men dbout you,
But mkae alanowlce for tehir duontbig too;
If you can wiat and not be tierd by wntiaig,
Or bineg leid auobt, don’t dael in leis,
Or benig htead, don’t gvie way to hiatng,
And yet don’t look too good, nor tlak too wsie:

If you can darem – and not mkae dmaers yuor msater,
If you can tihnk – and not mkae ttghhous yuor aim;
If you can meet wtih Tpumirh and Dtseasir
And traet thsoe two iortmspos jsut the smae;
If you can baer to haer the trtuh you’ve spoekn
Tesiwtd by kevnas to mkae a tarp for floos,
Or wtcah the tinhgs you gvae yuor lfie to, breokn,
And sotop and bluid ’em up wtih wron-out tolos:

If you can mkae one haep of all yuor wininngs
And rsik it all on one trun of ptich-and-tsos,
And lsoe, and sratt aiagn at yuor bniiggnens
And nveer baerth a wrod aoubt yuor lsos;
If you can froce yuor hraet and nrvee and sniew
To svree yuor trun lnog afetr tehy are gnoe,
And so hlod on wehn trehe is nhontig in you
Epxcet the Wlil whcih syas to tehm: “Hlod on!”

If you can tlak wtih crdwos and keep yuor vturie,
Or wlak wtih kngis – nor lsoe the cmmoon tcuoh,
If nheeitr feos nor liovng fdriens can hrut you,
If all men cunot wtih you, but nnoe too mcuh;
If you can flil the uigrnonvfig mnuite
Wtih stxiy snceods’ wotrh of dinstace run,
Yuros is the Etrah and envyeirthg taht’s in it,
And – whcih is mroe – you’ll be a Man, my son!

And here is the unscrambled version:

‘if’ by rudyard kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Front Row Livin’ & A Question Worth a Billion

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A week ago I attended a conference in Annapolis for a group of career professionals and employers. The keynote speaker, Jon Vroman, was particularly memorable. As co-founder of his nonprofit company, the Front Row Foundation, Jon talked about the work his organization does to help those braving devastating health issues and challenges. The goal of the organization to bring a “front row” experience to these individuals at their favorite concert, performer, sporting event, Broadway show or other entertainment venue. The stories they told proved inspirational as the patients and their families gained valuable memories to clutch to for the rest of their lives. You can read more about that organization here.

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But Jon also shared his own growth stories and some of the struggles he’s overcome to live life to the fullest, or in his words, in the front row. He gave a personal example of being a shy kid lacking confidence and as a result having the tendency to fade into the background. One day, while fanning his passion for live music at a concert but standing in the back of the crowd and slightly off to the side, Jon noticed a group of people front and center dancing and singing along and having what looked like the best time of their lives. He felt envious of how free and involved they seemed – so a part of not just the crowd, but the performers experience themselves. He decided in that moment that he would no longer live his life standing in and fading into the background.

Jon then asked us to think about our own goals and our commitment to those goals, requesting we rate on a scale from 1 (being the lowest) and 10 (being the highest) how dedicated we are to achieving our goals. When we all had that number secured firmly in our brains, Jon asked us another question: “If someone offered you a BILLION dollars to accomplish that goal, would your commitment change?” The curious murmur that fell over the crowd proved Jon’s experiment had worked – very few of us who just moments ago felt 100%, tapped out committed could honestly say a billion dollars would not strengthen that dedication and push us that much harder toward achieving success. With added incentive, we found we were capable of even more.

Whether it’s a career goal or a life goal, I challenge you to ask yourself the same question. What is your commitment level to your goal and what, if anything, would create even more incentive for you? You may be surprised what you find, and it may help you know yourself better as you continue to plan your career path.

As always, we are here in Career Services to support you living your life in the front row and we are 100% committed, billion dollars or not! 😉