Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I am a professional engineer working primarily for municipal water and sewer utilities. I design and manage drinking water and sewer projects to help municipalities and utilities plan for growth and rehabilitate aging water and sewer infrastructure.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
The most challenging part of my job is maintaining focus and staying organized. I wouldn’t say my speech necessarily adds significantly to the challenge. Some days are better than others from a fluency perspective, but that would be the case with or without the job.
Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process? If so, how did you do it and how do you currently disclose your stuttering to unsuspecting co-workers, clients and or customers?
I did not. Perhaps I should’ve. My stutter is not something I discuss too much. It is still an everyday part of my life, but I do not feel like it is a relevant part of my day to day work. I have become comfortable speaking professionally, leading meetings, talking on the phone, etc. I’ve never wanted any special treatment, so I generally don’t bring it up. I just see it as just a part of who I am, no different than the color of my eyes, so I don’t usually think about making it a point of discussion. I will, occasionally, have someone ask out of curiosity – in those cases I’m happy to discuss it but I generally don’t proactively bring it up.
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
I think stuttering has shaped some positive aspects of my personality, which helps at work. I have learned how to be patient and stay calm and learned to accept and work with my natural speech pattern has helped form that within me.
What is your proudest moment at your current company?
Getting hired! I changed career paths in my late 20s from Finance to Engineering. This is my third job as an engineer. I feel like the position I’m in is what I’ve been working toward for about 12 years since I quit my finance job and went back to school.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I am a “see where the road leads me” kind of person. I want to constantly try to improve on yesterday, but I don’t pretend to know where that will eventually take me.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
Remember that you are perfectly capable of saying whatever you want to say. Focus on being a good communicator. (Communication means more than talking.) If you are clear, thoughtful, organized, and professional in your communication with others you will be successful.