Good evening everyone,
I thought I'd start off tonight with the opening line from one of my favorite songs: "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera. I've always been a fighter, and because I stutter, I know (but more importantly) I embrace the fact that I may have to work harder than everyone else to bring the results I want to life. This edition of the blog starts though with a blast from the past, and ends with the lyric.
I currently work for a restaurant/cafe right now, and this past Saturday I was waiting on customers behind the counter when I saw a woman I used to work with at a law firm. I said hello, and we spoke briefly for a few moments. And as she was leaving, I was reminded painfully that sometimes some people in upper management do not change. (I want the record to reflect the woman I spoke to is NOT in that position). Which is amazing because it's those people who sometimes refuse to see through a person's challenges and prevent them from trying to showcase their ability.
This law firm was one where I had an interview about three years ago for what was considered an entry-level paralegal position. And despite making a good impression on one of the partners, the other one was not as convinced. At the end of my three interviews, I was offered a position in the billing department. When I asked what happened to the paralegal position, the office manager adamantly said "We decided we didn't need one after all." Against my better judgment, I took the job, and waited. And waited again....for my chance to show I wanted to be a paralegal. Six months came and went, and I knew it was never going to happen. I became incensed and voiced my disapproval...and that led me facing the executioner of the firing squad, being dismissed. This is one of the catalysts that led to me joining the National Stuttering Association and becoming the type of teammate I want to be.
Today's world we are living has a lot of drawbacks, too many to mention...but one of them is that there are many people out there who are phonies. They'll tell you what you want to hear and then as soon as you leave out comes the dagger, and the painful betrayal, a la Brutus to Julius Caesar. I know sometimes I may come across naive to some, but no one will tell me otherwise that one teammate can make a difference. I know so because I've seen it first-hand. The revolution that starts a change may very well be your own. I am genuine with who I am and I will never hide it. I say what I feel. I will take responsibility for what I say, and explain why I feel that way.
When I was driving home from work, I thought about that firm I used to work for, and wonder how they would feel if they saw me now. To be honest, I doubt they'd even remember me. But I never forgot them, and I never forgot them for all the wrong reasons-how they frustrated me and made me feel belittled. I suppose in retrospect, if they saw how positive I'd become and what a big difference one person can make, they might say "You know what? I don't know what I did, but I'm glad. Whatever gets you through the day." And that is why it's a perfect time to the close this entry on the blog with this quote: "You'd think after all this time, I'd despise you. But I want to thank you. Because you made me strong." Little does that firm know, I owe them a debt of gratitude. Because if wasn't for them, I may not have found myself a home and the greatest teammates in the world-at the National Stuttering Association.
My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.