Stuttering and Work/Jobs/Career
Almost every person (I’m sure) has had their fair share of concerns about work, their jobs, and/or career choices. They wonder, “is this the right path for me”, “am I on the right track”, “do I want to do this forever”, etc. etc. etc.
Completely normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. Well, people who stutter feel these exact same things (of course); however, our feelings of certain jobs or careers being “right” for us take a different perspective. We tend to experience heightened anxiety surrounding careers and jobs. We do not only wonder if a certain career path is the right path for us, in the way that most people do. We wonder if it is “right” for us due to the way in which we speak. We ask ourselves, “am I capable of speaking in a way that others can understand”?
While we are also concerned about being on the “right track”, we often wonder if our stutter will interfere with us doing our job or pursuing a career that we desire. I mean, after all, who wants to be met with that look when you happen to stumble over your words (and if you stutter, you know the look I am talking about) when you’re just trying to do your job/pursue your career and do it well? Better yet, who wants to go to sleep stressing about something as “simple” as the way that they speak getting in the way of them doing something that they love to do (or need to do)? Nobody! Not a single soul.
To my fellow PWS (People Who Stutter), you are not alone in your reservations about your life. The challenges of life itself paired with the challenge of speaking in a way that’s deemed as “abnormal”, all while trying to choose a career that works for you that doesn’t simultaneously keep you up at night worried sick is a lot, right? Yes. It is (don’t worry about answering that, fellow PWS. I’ll do it for you). 😊
I have certainly experienced fear surrounding jobs and my career due to my speech. It is always, always, always a concern of mine. Over the years, there are a few tips that I have implemented to help ease this anxiety a bit (notice a said “ease this anxiety a bit” -- not completely remove).
The first thing I started doing was being open about my speech impediment when I speak to others I work with–specifically my boss(es). I may mention this either before I come in for an interview or during an interview. At my previous job, I informed each of my directors that I stuttered and was candid about my concerns about it. All three of them were very kind, understanding, and still believed in my ability to properly do my job and to go above and beyond.
The second aspect I began to implement into my life is a bit more difficult for me, but I try not to make it a big deal. This is one that I will admit, I struggle with a bit more; however, I have improved from two years ago. I’ve even improved from a year ago! Hey, progress over perfection, right?
The final thing that I have started doing is stop apologizing for stuttering. Honestly, stuttering is nothing to apologize for because it is not a crime nor is it a sin to stutter. It is simply the way that some of us speak. So, if you are conversing with someone and you stutter, just keep speaking. Or, you can simply say, “I stutter” and resume the conversation. Most times, people do not care as much as you may think. Sometimes, they do. Those who laugh, are rude, or condescending reveal more about their character than anything. Yes, it hurts, but I think of it like this: I would rather have a speech “discrepancy” than a character one. 🤷
Well, this is it, folks. I hope you have enjoyed this blog, and if you stutter, comment below and share your experiences with careers/jobs/work and your speech. Do you have any tips that you have implemented to assist you on your journey? I cannot wait to read your comments!
****Also: There will be no blog post next Friday, January 28, 2022. I repeat: there will be no blog post next Friday, January 28, 2022. I will resume posting on Friday, February 4, 2022. Thank you for your patience and understanding!****