Is learning to type a good investment?
As usual I’ll start with what investment means. Loads of people will have jumped to thinking of £ or $ signs instantly, I just know it. Investment in the context of this post means putting in some effort, time or work and getting some advantage out of it. The advantage could be in monetary terms or it could be some other non-monetary advantage.
In the 1990s I taught myself to touch type using a very basic and early version of Mavis Beacon. The software ran on a 4 kHZ LCD screen Toshiba laptop, that I still have and is now a vintage collectors item. Today my modern laptop runs at up to 4 GHz which is 1000 times faster or more powerful. But back then ‘people’ knew I was mad, for buying what was then an expensive item (the laptop) and spending loads of hours teaching myself to touch type. Who had the last laugh? Well I did – obviously!
Fast forward to the last year say 25 years later – and more particularly the last week. I came to notice some people at work are quicker than others at typing, which you would expect – because not everybody is the same. The people who could type the fastest were making really rich notes on what went on. The slowest people were making very brief uninformative notes. No – that’s not surprising at all. So what’s the point? The people who could type very quickly had an advantage and gave more real service to their employers. Those who could do the usual slow two-finger punching at the keyboard delivered far less value for their wages. Do their so-called managers know how slowly most of them type? Nope. They couldn’t care less. Well, you know if I was the CEO of some service, I would issue a mandatory typing speed test to everybody. The lowest 25% of performers would be given 6 months to up their game to over 30 wpm, else! Else what? The risk of getting the chop, obviously! Why? The people who are most slow at typing cause chaos with their emails. Their emails are so brief and lacking context or detail that people end up ‘chasing their tails’. It wastes tons of time – which is… wait for it.. money! Time is money. Chrysst!
For me over the years it was rather funny, because I had the advantage of churning out hundreds of words in relatively quick time. Some of my employers and their stooges didn’t like that, cuz they would get robust responses telling them what’s what in quick time. So they might comment, “You’re spending so much time on this.” Of course their estimates of time I would spend, were much larger in their imaginations, based on what they could now of the average typing speed of other people. They certainly didn’t know my typing speed. BTW those same employers and their idiots wouldn’t be concerned about time wastage from shorter emails created by a bunch of idiots.
I’m about to be accused of boasting even if I’m speaking facts, that I could type about 3 times faster than most people. How do I know? Because I can type about double the speed of most of (about 75%) secretaries who worked with me over the last 30 years. And of course I see what non=secretaries do. So why don’t ‘everybody’ learn to type faster. The answer is this simple: ‘everybody’ is flipping lazy! By everybody, I of course mean a majority of people – say 75%. And what do I mean by lazy? I’ve explained it before. But I’ll revisit it, in another blog shortly.
But it’s not all about work. We have social media where people type stuff. Interestingly the culture of social media platforms is that any bunch of text that is more than about 100 words is LONG! So what happens up there is that because people have so little time to read and write – with Instagram competing for their time – that so-called long posts are ignored.. or some fool would just read two lines and fly off some jibes or the first thing that comes into their head!
So where am I going with this? On the one hand good typing speed was advantageous to me and still is, but then it’s disadvantageous because most people won’t give time to anything over 100 words in the grand scheme of things, even work related stuff. 100 words not read and understood, is equal to a blank piece of paper. I’m of course making a generalisation because there are reports to write and those some times reach over 30 pages, and folk do pour over them at times.
On the other hand, my good typing speed is of advantage to me personally. Over the last few months I’ve been weeding out loads of old letters and documents or archiving some – and I’m thinking to myself, “Jeeez.. so much text you wrote!” I mean we’re talking hundreds of thousands of words here. About 90% was generated by typing. In recent years I have gravitated to speech recognition – but there is a sort of intimate connection between brain and keyboard that is still golden. Of course, I occasionally look over my posts on this blog and I realise what a collection of words it is. Again it must be hundreds of thousands of words. At this point, I just checked that I’ve generated 883 words so far.
I know I’ve been told to write books. It’s a good idea. I could have written several so far. But the problem is that books need to have a theme and connections between chapters etc. I really like the freedom of generating thoughts on the fly. Yeah – I know that doesn’t pay, so there is still an idea that I haven’t killed off, that I should write a book on something. It’s coming! Yep – it will be an exposé of what has happened in my experience of work. It’ll cause a serious eruption! Wait for it. 🤣
So – overall I enjoy the acquired skill of touch typing that I worked hard for. It hasn’t earned me megabucks at all – not yet. Maybe that eruption to come out of the ‘pressure cooker’, might bring something. Who knows? Just to be clear, I require no validation or encouragement. I do what I do, regardless.
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