Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Working World... Being Heard Beyond the Accent

Several months into the daily grind of a new working world here in the USA, something odd seems to be happening. I find myself facing a slightly less obvious challenge than that of translating my UK qualifications or verifying my foreign references to potential employers... I am actually having to work harder than many of my co-workers at being taken seriously by our public clientele. This sad fact is so, simply because I have a strong accent, one not yet muted by several years residing across the big pond.

Now I understand that this is an odd dilemma, one of which many would think of as pointless to become frustrated over.  Granted, for the longest while I quite enjoyed the attention I reaped from not sounding like others around me, and the uniqueness people seemed to bestow on me simply because my life experience differentiated from there own.

Now however, as I attempt to carve out a professional path, lined with necessary public encounters and the need to communicate medical information of high importance, I am more often than not interrupted mid-spiel, in order to be quizzed about where I am originally from, what brought me to the States and "How do I like the weather here so far??"

I must say that 99% of the folks who ask me about my recent epic life change, have been genuinely interested and the conversation that ensued was for the most part pleasant (if not a little awkward on my part). But it is rather constant and there have certainly been those odd individuals who have proceeded with a beyond the boundaries of 'personal' interrogation, and quite frankly, haven't heard a word I've said during our professional encounter. Not a syllable. I have literally had to invite a fellow member of staff to step in and redeliver the information I was attempting to impart, in order to gain some semblance of control over the whole interaction!

So as the frustration continues and seeps more and more into my daily tasks, I begin to wonder how long it will be until I begin to submit my Yorkshire accent and good ol' British verbiage to that which is closer to the American way of conversing. Needless to say, I am hoping to fight the good fight and hold onto my heritage for as long as I can.

Here's to being different and striving to stay that way! Cheerio!

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