Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Should Liz Lemon have to go looking for work?

Tina Fey plays a character named Liz Lemon on the TV show 30 Rock. Lemon is the head writer for a sketch comedy show. On an episode this past season, she faces the prospect of losing her writing job and she comes across three other people whose occupations have become irrelevant: a travel agent, a rock band saxophonist and an American auto worker. They invite her to live with them in a subway tunnel along with the CEO of Friendster.

That got me thinking: has writing really become irrelevant in today’s society? At the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, we regularly host business and government leaders for dean’s convocations and other special lectures. When they allow questions at the end of their presentations, a student will usually ask what they look for in prospective employees. Almost unanimously, they will emphasize the ability to write.

I hope that we as students don’t take this lightly. I don’t think these leaders are asking us to be Malcolm Gladwells or Thomas Friedmans. They want us to be able to clearly state our messages in written form to increase the efficiency of communication in the work place. In an increasingly global business environment, much more of our communication will need to take place in written form. If we muddle the message along the way, the end results could be costly.

Connor Child

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