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The Second Space is for the Unemployable

Your typing teacher is unemployed and you will be too if you continue to use two spaces after a period.

Did that sound harsh? Good. It was meant to. You see, just a few days ago a friend shared a link to a humorous post on Facebook about using two spaces after a period. It got a lot of reactions and more than a few shares.

A facebook share of an article about two spaces after a full stop ie. period

And then another friend shared the same post. A friend who is a writer and ostensibly has many other writer friends. The comments around it were alarming. They love their two spaces after a full stop. They stand by their two spaces after a period. They have been mocked for their second space and they will not give it up anytime soon. They love that they’re over 40 and they assert that the double space after the full stop demonstrates wisdom.

The double space after a period demonstrates willful ignorance. Full stop.

These are the people who will not be hired. These are the people who will say they’ve experienced age discrimination. These are not people who are being discriminated against. These are people who are doing it wrong.

Let me explain.

You see, my Facebook groups are where the real information is. As a blogger, I’m on the outskirts of tech insofar as people in tech need bloggers to listen and to send their ideas to our readers. We as bloggers need the tools they curate and create. So I listen. I listen a lot, and with attention to detail. I watch for trends and I try to connect people with one another.

One of my most interesting facebook groups explores age discrimination, primarily in high tech.

Every woman over 30 in Los Angeles suspects age discrimination exists. Every woman over 40 in this town knows it does. I’m self-employed, I’m not immune to age discrimination but with my new project I’ve embraced it. I’m sure many folks skip over it. That’s okay, it’s my niche and I love it.

Back to my facebook groups. In my age discrimination facebook group, there are many articles shared both hopeful and discouraging. There are lots of discussion and job opportunities discussed as many are freelancers and most of us know and respect one another’s work. Almost everyone works in tech or an industry closely related. All of us know more than millennials when it comes to digital best practices. This is our playground. We wrote the rules. In addition to knowing that certain features exist inside of an app/website/piece of software, we remember its genesis and can explain to you why it was needed and how it was rolled out. We know the five W’s of most of what we use. We were alpha testers and know the lady who implemented the feature we love so much. Sometimes that doesn’t matter one iota, sometimes that bit of wisdom is critical. Which is a very long way of saying that we all know why you no longer double space after a full stop. Further, we all had typing teachers and we all unlearned that particular skill. That is wisdom. 

In case you didn’t know the double space after a period or full stop was no longer necessary or even useful as we stopped typing and started keyboarding. Today’s fonts have little to do with yesterday’s typebars. If you want more about this Grammar Girl has a series of posts.

Ilene Strizver, the founder of the Type Studio, says, “Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong.”

How does the double space after a period keep people from getting a job?

Pretend an editor and has to search a document for all of the double spaces only so they can be replaced with a single space. Would a harried editor hire that person a second time? If their work was otherwise stellar the answer is, probably. But with a note that all subsequent articles should be submitted with proper spacing. When this freelance writer submits that second article with double spacing after a period and says it’s a sign of wisdom, is it? Or is it a sign of rigidity at best and being obsolete at worst?

It’s quite likely submissions are never accepted in the first place because that double space in the email sent a signal that the sender is not current with technology. Logically, a person whose keyboarding skills are dated to typewriter days is a poor hire in a digital world. How long would it take to train this person to use an intranet, to submit expense reports, or to navigate digital files?

It’s wonderful to be mature. Youthful business owners need guidance from the people who built the road they intend to travel.
Smart buiness owners value wisdom. Remember though, that to be wisened means knowing how to listen and learn.