What's your problem?

I run my own business, own a big house and car. I'm a successful businessman but I'm close to illiterate.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This was fine when I was starting up the company, travelling around and selling, but now I'm deskbound it's getting difficult. My PA, who has been with me from the start, knows my problem, but no-one else at work. My wife wrote this for me. For the first time, this is becoming a real problem for me. How can I fix it?

A: Your achievement to date is remarkable. I hope you're proud of it; you certainly should be. But as you must already know, you now face a stark and simple choice. You carry on, with increasing difficulty and embarrassment, living a life in part based on pretence. Or you learn to read and write with fluency and confidence.

That last thought may fill you with fear; it would be odd if it didn't. But you're clearly a man of high intelligence and strong will. I believe you would surprise and delight yourself with the speed with which you progress. I have no idea how long this will take, but a year from now this problem could be behind you for ever. Your sense of achievement (and relief) will be quite overwhelming.

Tell your wife and your PA of your resolve - and ask them to do some thorough research on your behalf. I'm no expert in this field but they might like to start with the National Literacy Trust - www.literacytrust.org.uk - and see where that takes them. Explore all possibilities before plumping for one: you're bound to feel deeply uncomfortable at first, so it's essential you put yourself in hands that you trust. I do hope you'll let me know how you get on.


- Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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