Monday, March 19, 2007

Job Search Anxiety Issue

I got an email from a very nice person who stumbled upon my blog...and he brought up an issue that piqued my interest. He related that he doesn't like it when he is doing a job search and the advertisement for the job solicits someone with good communication skills or excellent verbal skills. He said that he'd rather have the employer assess these sorts of skills on a one-to-one basis, rather than posting it in the advertisement, making it stressful for the stutterer...or even deterring them altogether.

While I agree with the sentiment of the question...I am not sure he is seeing the big picture.

I think that even if the job advertisement solicits those with "good verbal skills"...that requirement is arbitrary in definition, meaning that the definition of what that means will vary from employer to employer and from one job applicant to another. People who speak fluently don't necessarily have good verbal or communications skills...and we who stutter do not necessarily have weak communication/verbal skills.

Advertising that requirement is probably meant to deter those who know they are shy or know they don't like to talk...unsociable people. It's saying, "I hope you like to talk. I hope you like to communicate. This job requires it." It's not necessarily meant to deter people who stutter, but who otherwise ENJOY talking or ENJOY communication. Does that make sense?

If you are sociable, outgoing and love to talk to people...but have a stutter that you are determined to NOT let stand in your way...an employer will probably hold that bold ambition in high regard...and might want to give you a chance simply for having the determination to NOT be limited by your won handicap. If they aren't such a person...perhaps working for him or her is not in your best interest, anyway.

As an aside, I think one part of our accepting our affliction requires us to know our limitations. A man born with no legs simply must face the fact that he can't get a job as a stage dancer. A man born deaf simply must face the fact that he'll never be a music producer. Likewise, I, as a stutterer, must simply face the fact that I will likely never land a job as a radio announcer.

There is nothing wrong with limitations when you recognize them. In fact, that is an asset to possess. Expecting the world around us to make unreasonable exceptions FOR the limitation, however...is a bit pathetic, in certain circumstances. In my view, it's akin to what's wrong with our educational system in the United States. They are taking away many of the competitive aspects of public education...so as not to "offend" low achievers. Instead they want to remove competition and have all kids be "special".

But the obvious result is...when you make everyone special...then nobody is.

2 comments:

Bud said...

I worked for a company once that included the bit about having good communication skills in all of their job listings, even housekeepers and landscapers. Their thing was having every employee be able to represent that company and make it look top-notch with intelligent people in every job. It worked! Customers were amazed to find every person with good language skills, nobody who used anything less than the best choice of words (never heard anyone use foul language while I worked there, which made it a very pleasant place to work), and there was one who stuttered. So, anyone who stutters should NOT shy away from applying for a job with a company that expects good verbal skills, especially if that stuttered does indeed know how to use language appropriately.

Law Student said...

Great information, Bud. Nail. Head. Bang. :)