Thank you, high school English teachers

Like every 15 year old, I had the thought — when am I ever going to write an essay in real life? Why would I ever need to persuade anyone that King Lear is rife with pathetic fallacy? What’s the big deal about citing sources to back up my points, it’s so obvious? UGH.

Ha ha. Enter email!

In any given day, I probably write 4 or 5 emails that are basically 250-word essays. Emails that are designed to:

  • Change someone’s mind about a topic
  • Provide evidence for why that change is necessary
  • Refute any doubts or misgivings they may have
  • Provide a path to move forward after acceptance of my conclusions

All while being friendly, well-written and concise.

I think my perception that it wouldn’t be a factor in my life was because I had working-class parents. I had a lot of experience with the benefit of effective oral communication, but written communication seemed like something only elites did when they wrote a Letter to the Editor, or something equally pretentious.

But the digital age has made written communication all the more urgent and necessary. Being able to clearly articulate your thoughts and cut through the information clutter is an important skill to achieve success and the evidence backs that up.

So a belated, but much deserved, thank you to the English and Humanities teachers of the world. As business and strategy get more complex, your tutelage is more important now than ever.