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Job-hunting is especially challenging for people who have disabilities that are noticeable to employers.
Often the biggest hurdle is an interviewer who is afraid to ask questions about your disability, and how it affects your capacity to do the job. If you can’t get past that, you run the risk of being rejected.
Larry was a tax attorney who had a severe stuttering problem. He’d been with the same firm since graduating from law school and he needed to move on. I’ve fictionalized his story to protect privacy and I’m telling it with permission.
Larry dealt with the stuttering problem by talking about it during job interviews. He'd say: “I’m sure you’ve noticed I have a speech impediment,” then he’d laugh, saying “Well, I guess it would be hard not to notice!
He explained he dealt with the problem by persisting until he got the words out and that he was comfortable doing that, even though it might look difficult. He said he hoped the interviewer would bear with him if that sometimes took a minute, but the advantage was, he was a man of few words!
He described the tax problems he dealt with and the clients he served. He made a point of saying he was able to do 90% of his client communication in writing, and was very efficient. In fact, he typed faster than his secretary.
Larry anticipated the concerns of interviewers and addressed them head on, with a touch of humor. His willingness to be open put prospective employers at ease and made him very likeable. He found a great job, quickly.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)