Stuttering and your future job

I wanted to comment on something I’ve been seeing lately on Facebook groups and Reddit — young people who stutter worrying about what sort of job they might have since they stutter. I remember a few posts that said the person who stutters talked to someone in their profession or industry, and they said, no, you won’t be able to do this. You have to be able to talk.

This is all a bunch of crap.

Let me go through this in three parts. I want to just put forth some main ideas on this.

Firstly, hearing one person hate on your future job prospects is like having one person telling you that you can’t lose weight. Think about it. They’ll tell you how they’ve tried everything, it’s genetic, just don’t worry about it, just live with it. Seriously? And you can’t find ten other people who have lost 50 lbs and are more than happy to tell you how to change your life to do the same thing? You can communicate with anybody now through the Internet. You can ask to talk to someone who has your future job. You can reach out to many of them, and you’ll find someone who can help guide you through the process.

Secondly, if you’re looking at what a future job entails and then just giving up because you think — think — that you can’t do the speaking involved, then you’ve already failed. You’ve said to yourself that you’ve tried everything — various speech therapists, group therapy, self therapy, daily practice of techniques and things like Toastmasters. So, again, really? You’ve tried all that. You’ve done all the work, and you’re still going to give up? You’ve worked hard to change negative connotations of your stuttering into positive ones, and a dream job is still not going to happen?

Thirdly, am I one to talk? I will readily admit that my stutter probably pushed me into engineering. Maybe not fully, but it had something to do with it. Well, the thing is, I didn’t just sit and stay in the first job that I had. I saw my boss and his job. I saw how much he talked, and how he carried himself with others and in meetings. And despite the fact that I didn’t think that would be possible, I kept working at it anyway. I’ve moved up. I’ve freaked out, I’ve practiced, I’ve had good days and bad. But I’m still going forward, and I’m still being scared at what the future might hold. But I’m better prepared.

Comments

  1. Hi Rehan, I couldn’t agree with you more. Don’t choose your career path based on what you think you can’t do, because you think the job involves a lot of talking. Everything involves talking. Unless you want to climb into a hole and never participate in anything, you have to talk. I originally wanted to be a jounalist or an artist. I think this was because, being a stutterer, I became more expressive in other forms of communication (painting and writing), however I finished up studying Marketing, forcing myself into a career that thrives on talking, and finished up working as Marketing Manager for large corporations, and started my own importing/wholesaling business 15 years ago. I decided in my early teens that I was going to put myself in the talking firing line and just keep doing it until I got through it. So I did all the speeches for friends and family at 18ths, 21sts, 30ths, 40ths, 50ths, master of ceremony at weddings, and all the marketing presentations, board meetings etc. There were many good speeches, and many shocking ones, but gradually the good ones started outnumbering the bad ones. I kept all the good bits from each one and threw out the bad bits. Every time I got up to speak, I re-ran the best ones in my mind, and this would reaffirm that I could do it. I never read from notes because then I got blocked on words, and have developed a way of rehearsing/summarising/rehearsing that allows me to talk with just 5 bullet points in my mind – that way i can change sentences along the way and I am focussed on the content rather than my speech itself. But the main point is that not one of those attempts was a fail. not one. I only fail if I ever back away, or decline an offer to speak. If I ever lose the courage to speak, only then have i failed. My speech has improved over the years to the point that i dont really think about it much, as it does not hold me back. When I was young, I never thought that I would ever feel that way. As you know, its a tough gig! You feel the pressure from within, but most, if not all, people cut you slack when you stutter, they want you to succeed. They don’t think any less of you. My friends all know I stutter, and it doesn’t change anything. If I’d chosen to climb into that hole, I would have missed out on so much life. So I agree with you wholeheartedly and I really like reading your blogs! PS I have only written 1 stuttering blog so far, but I have a few more unfinished ones sitting as drafts. There is one which will be a long read that really goes into my whole stuttering history and how I have made good progress, which is difficult to write and will will hard to push the publish button on, but I would be backing away if I didn’t follow through with it (it just might take a while to finish it). Keep up the good work, ad keep fighting.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I talked the other day about jobs and stuttering. Let me go through it again, but in more detail. I’ll start with the first point today and do the others tomorrow. […]

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