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Is “Shorthand” still around?

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Looking back on my high school days, a lot has changed in the office setting.   While in high school, I can remember taking Shorthand.   That class was important if you wanted to work in an office as a secretary.  I was one of the girls that wanted to be an Executive Secretary; taking shorthand was an added plus on your resume along with your typing speed.

In my junior year, I took Shorthand 1.  I still recall how easy it was to pick up the method.  Once we had the abbreviated symbols down, our teacher dictated a letter to us to help build our speed.   She verbally punctuated with  commas, periods, new paragraphs…which was very important to know. Keep in mind, though, when you were hired for the position with an officer of a company, he/she would not punctuate while they were dictating.  You had to know where the commas went, the start of a new sentence and even a new paragraph.   After the teacher was finished with the dictation, we would then have to type the letter she dictated from our notes.

This was so serious that we had to practice so we wouldn’t lose the speed that we had built up or forget the symbols.  My girlfriends and I would get together during summer breaks and practice shorthand and dictate to each other so we could keep up our speed.

My senior year, I took Shorthand 2.  In Shorthand 2, we were taught how to abbreviate more symbols to increase out speed even more.  Believe me, it was important to keep my speed up because if I got behind on the dictation, I was lost when it came time to type what was dictated.  Back then we had the good old typewriter, not a computer to edit until everything was correct.   If we made a mistake, we had to use either the White-Out or Correction Tape to correct the misspelling and hoped it wasn’t too noticeable on the paper.   Typing letters today, using Microsoft Word or Excel, all you have to do is hit the “Spell Check & Grammar” button and it points out the mistakes on grammar or spelling that needs to be corrected.

I’m not sure, but I suspect Shorthand isn’t used in any type of office setting anymore.  I’ve read that the Medical Field uses it when they are making notes in our files, but otherwise, can you think of anywhere else?  Would it help the Account Executives to know shorthand while they are taking notes in meetings with the clients? Maybe so!

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