One of the very real challenges for many of us with a voice disorder, is work.
Dysphonia frequently affects people in their productive working years, and with that comes a whole lot of challenges which will vary depending on the vocal demands of the particular job.
But before throwing-in the towel (and your job), stop to consider what you want long term, it may be possible to identify a slightly different path to reach a similar end point. It can be a good idea to talk with trusted work colleagues about how they see your performance… ask them for really honest and objective feedback, because let’s face it, we are often our own worst critic. While at times it may feel impossible to continue, it may also be possible to make a few adjustments to the way you do things, which will enable you to remain a valuable employee.
If your job is one of high vocal demands … teacher, preacher, receptionist, performer etc, then the adjustments may need to be more significant, but they are certainly not impossible. Take a peek at our fact sheet ‘Dysphonia and that 4 lettered word…WORK’ for some tips and food for thought.
Changing jobs can be a tricky process too. The anticipation of an interview is enough to worry anyone, but then there is the negative self-talk …‘what if my voice lets me down at a critical moment’? … ‘will they take me seriously’? …’will they think I’m not smart’? …’if I remain fairly quiet they will think I have nothing to offer’ … and so it goes.
There is also the question of how much to tell about your voice disorder.. remember you are not obligated to ‘tell all’. A voice disorder may be interpreted as nervousness, which might be understood and passed off as being ‘due to the circumstances’, however some people feel that being honest up-front works better for them. It allows them to explain a little about their condition, while reassuring the panel that it wont impact on their performance, and allows them to sell their skills and attributes without trying to mask their voice.
Remember, with appropriate management and support, many people are able to be successful in a job or career they love, it might just mean being a little creative about how it is approached.