Today I interviewed Sarah, one of my Veteran Writing Moms, about skills needed in the Real World! Sarah shares some experiences about the effect of writing style and following directions on her work.

Sarah’s experience is all too common in the work world, even among professionals who ought to know how to do things correctly. It is so common that Forbes even published an article entitled, “You Won’t Land A Job If You Can’t Follow Directions.”

I share these types of experiences with my students during class, because I want them to know that the skills they are learning aren’t just for school; they are for the Real World and will have an impact for good on their futures.

As English professor Tina Blue says, “…one of the most important things a student should take from his education is a sense that he must do things properly, according to whatever rules pertain to the situation at hand.” The rules that “pertain to the situation at hand” are communicated as directions. Students must develop a habit of mind to take directions seriously and carry them out.

One secret to my students’ success is that they do develop the habit of following directions. I train them to do so by giving them directions and then expecting them to follow them. 😉 The result is competent people who are appreciated by professors and employers, and who know how to get things done.

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