Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I am a drummer/percussionist in the San Francisco Bay Area where I wear many hats as a musician. For one, I play in orchestra pits for musical theater productions around the Bay. I also instruct percussion groups at the high school and college level. And, I give private lessons to students of all ages.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
The most challenging part is definitely networking. For those who haven’t heard my playing, their first impression of me will always be my stutter, which is probably just as bad now as it was when I was in grade school. For most people it doesn’t matter to them, but I do always have that fear that they’ll know me as a stutterer, rather than the musician that I am.
Do you disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process? If so, how did you do it?
The hiring process for my profession isn’t like a regular 9-to-5 job, it’s usually based on recommendations and through word-of-mouth. I don’t mention my stutter upfront unless who I’m speaking to has a confused look on their face. My hope, so to speak, is my playing will “do the talking for me.”
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
It forces me to be patient, as well as forces the other musicians to slow down sometimes and have patience. There can be fast-paced moments sometimes, so it’s good to just slow things down now and again.
What is your proudest career moment?
Probably my proudest moment as a musician was being in the orchestra for the world premiere production of “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” that is now currently on Broadway. The show did it’s Off-Broadway tryout in Berkeley, California, and I was fortunate to be a part of it.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
It’s pretty simple: to keep playing music and inspiring others. As long as I can continue to make a living playing music, I’m all set.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, and don’t hide anything about yourself. Your honesty will get you a long way with your peers.