Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's not so bad to be part of the human race.....

Good morning all my teammates around the world,

Today I was walking past the local CVS and couldn't help overhearing a very interesting conversation. Two elderly gentlemen were palying chess on a bench and they were sharing what they thought was the meaning of life, and I was passing them by, I experienced how fast emotions can change. Apparently the person who thought they were winning ended up being in checkmate, and I heard some very "ungentlemanly" like language.

The reason why I started off with this anecdote is because I had an experience like that recently, going from the high to the low point, and when I crashed, I really crashed. A couple of days ago, I had applied online for a customer service representative job with an upscale real estate property management company, and received an email to schedule a phone interview. Now as many NSA teammates would tell you, interviews are often the most challenging of everyday situations-for some it's ordering in a restaurant, others it may be walking up to a multiplex and buying a ticket at the box office, like me. That also includes in-person interviews, too. I can't explain this, but for some reason I'm more fluent on the phone than in real-life. There's actually a term coined the "Ma Bell Syndrome" to describe the intense fear of speaking on the phone. Well, the day came and went, and I was feeling very confident after I hung up the phone-I was not 100 percent fluent, and no one can ever claim they are, but I'd say I was 70 percent, and that to me is success. I proudly spoke about my NSA experience as it relates to leadership and teamwork, and the recruiter seemed really impressed. And then came the day after.

I logged onto my email and found an email from the company. I was gleefully opening it when I fixated on those dreaded words: "We decided to go in a different direction, and this in no way reflects on....." I began to quietly weep.....and then the dam burst. I started to cry, and let it all out. I've been struggling to find work for almost two years, but the NSA keeps me focused on what I need to do.

I always like to think I'm a person who is very emotional, even when I shouldn't be. I make no apologies for that. I'm human, after all. I hurt like others hurt, and feel like others do. This was a promising lead, and it just vanished. I tried not to let it get to me, but it did. And then, I felt the tide turn because of an email I got....from an NSA teammate.

I sent an NSA teammate of mine an email just to say hello-he was a presenter with another NSA teammate from the Midwest. He happened to attend my workshop and said it was great to hear from me, and that he enjoyed my seminar, and said "You're a commanding speaker." Just like that, my day turned around completely. That is the power of the NSA, and why I will always say the NSA is my rock, my strength, and my courage to do what's right. This was a setback for me. But I will rebound. Already I feel that somewhere out there, an employer will want to hire me. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but soon. And I'll look back on this lesson and realize that it's not really so bad to be part of the human race...when you know the NSA stands with you.

My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.

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