Thursday, December 13, 2007

How To Get Out Of A Family Christmas Party

Last weekend, my daughter and wife went to a family Christmas party in Birmingham while I got to stay home. Why was I not there?

Two years ago, we were at the same Christmas party (my wife's aunt) and as we were leaving, someone was doing something to my daughter (ticking her, maybe?) and my wife's aunt said "don't do that to her, she will start stuttering, too". Out of respect for my wife and her parents, I did not say a work and just continued to leave. Needless to say, I have avoided this annual event since then.

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people can be at times.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

120 Rule

In my last few posts I have discussed the series of interviews I have had recently with one company. My last interview for the position was today, as I met with their external CPA. From all indications, it sounds like I am their top candidate for the position. It appears they are ready to make a move and a job offer could be coming soon.

When I consider changing jobs, I have what I call my "120 Rule". The 120 Rule means that the new job needs to pay at least 120% of the current job in order for me to consider the move. In my career I have always had the fortune/misfortune of knowing the salaries of everyone in the Accounting/Finance area. This has usually been due to my job responsibilities (payroll, budgeting, etc.). I learned early on that salaries are more a function of when someone joins a company and how they negotiate salary when they join, as opposed to other factors.

Though the series of interviews have gone well, my speech has pretty much been lousy the past week. The worst was Friday afternoon as our department celebrated the filing of our 10-K by leaving work early and having a few drinks. I usually have more trouble with fluency in loud restaurants (I have trouble with the background noise), but this was the worse it had been in a while. I spent the weekend putting more focus and attention to my targets.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Marathon Interview Follow-up

I survived my morning of fun on Saturday. The first interview out of the gate was with a high-level VP/Sales guy who wanted to try to beat me up a little because of the number of jobs (5 in 9 years) on my resume. I withstood his attacks pretty well, even getting a couple of good counter-punches in. After that, the questions became easier as he was the only one who came at me all morning with a negative agenda.

Halfway through the second interview at around 8:45, I got tired and started to struggle with my fluency. I pulled myself together and was able to stay pretty much on track the rest of the morning. The last 2 interviews were done over the phone and before I knew it, the last interview ended at 11:45 and I was finished.

The next day I woke up with a very sore chest - a sign that I had been using the full breath target extensively the morning before. The Company is supposed to make a decision this week on who to offer to position too, but at this point, I am not really concerned about that. I felt like I gave it my best effort and did everything I could do. If it is meant to happen then it will, if not, then something better will come up. I learned a long time ago, that God's plan for my life is a lot better than my plan.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Marathon Interview

Last week I mentioned an interview I had gone on where the CEO asked me about my stuttering. I was supposed to have a follow-up interview this week, but I could not get away from my current job, so I called my recruiter and told him I was passing on the opportunity.

I thought that was the end of that, but on Thursday, the company asked if I wanted to come in on Saturday for the follow-up interview. I agreed, so between 8 and 11:30 AM tomorrow, I have 7 separate 30 minute interviews scheduled with this company. 3 of the interviews are with people I would be managing - the other 4 are with managers of other areas of the company. I know some of these people can't be happy about having to come in on Saturday to interview some yahoo for the Controller position.

My speech has been pretty lousy this week, mainly from a total lack of focus and concentration on my targets. This evening I have been putting extra effort into monitoring my targets, as I will in the morning. I have been on enough interviews the past few months, that I have my answers and sales pitches down pretty well, so that should allow me to focus more on my targets than trying to come up with an answer to a question.

This should be an interesting experience.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Honest Interview Question

As I have mentioned before, I am currently in the process of exploring other employment opportunities. Friday morning I was being interviewed for the Controller position at a small healthcare support company. As we closed the interview the CEO told me that I had really made an impression on him and that he wanted me to come back next week to interview with others in the Company, but he said he wanted to ask me one more question before we closed.

He asked me if I felt my speech would have an impact on how I performed the job. I was not expecting that question but I was able to give a good answer as it opened the door for me to sale my history of overcoming my stuttering as an asset, as opposed to a liability. The discussion of my stuttering up front also opened the door, for in the case that I am offered the position, it will be easier for me to include time off and having the Company pay for my PFSP Refreshers in the salary and compensation negotiations.

During job interviews my speech is usually pretty good - no major blocks, mainly some class IV issues, but it is still obvious that I am a stutterer. I am sure the question that this interviewer asked crosses the mind of others, but for whatever reason, they don't ask. But it was a nice change to have someone actually ask me an honest interview question.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Daddy Daughter Breakfast

Even though I missed Small Group and did not get home tonight until 10 pm (after spending 12 hours in meetings at work), I had a very good day. The reason I had a good day is that this morning my daughter's Montessori class had a special daddy and child breakfast. I got to take the little one to school, have breakfast with her and have her show me some of the work she is currently involved in.

Even though we were running late this morning, on the short drive to school, I popped in my PFSP CD and worked on a little full breath practice. I wanted to be prepared for having to introduce myself to the other fathers, but as luck would have it, I spent the hour talking exclusively to my daughter and her teacher. It never hurts to be prepared, though.

Monday, February 05, 2007

New Cell Phones!

After a long week of waiting, Novelchick and I finally received our new cell phones last Thursday. In August of 1995, shortly after I got home from my initial 3 weeks of therapy in the Precision Fluency Shaping Program in Norfolk, VA, one of the first things I did was to go out and purchase my very first cell phone. My first cell phone was roughly the size and weight of a cement block and my first plan allowed for 60 minutes of talk time per month. Cell phones have gotten much smaller since then (Novelchick is convinced it is only a matter time before I lose my new Motorola) and the plans now allow for much more talk time for the same money. The only constant in that time has been how completely lost I feel if I don’t have my cell phone with me at all times.

Monday, January 29, 2007


In a recent posting on Yahoo finance, Penelope Trunk wrote that you should generally try to avoid voicemail, essentially for efficiency reasons. She makes a good point, often I find myself at work using voicemail only because I want the transfer experience.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pray Big!

A few weeks ago, Andy Stanley at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA gave an excellent message titled "Asking Big" regarding having big prayers. I do not know what my big prayer is in regards to stuttering.

What are you working on big?

ISAD Conference 9

Every October, Minnesota State University, Makato hosts the International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) Online Conference. I always find some interesting reading in all of the stories and papers presented.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Other Ways to Blow an Interview

Yesterday, MSN had an article discussing things not to do in an interview. For that lucky 1% of us, stuttering could also be on that list. In my 9 year professional career, I have had 6 different accounting jobs (though only 2 jobs in the last 5 1/2 years), so I have a good bit of experience in job interviews.

In this time, I believe I have developed a good approach to job interviews. In the days leading up to an interview, I try to really focus on monitoring my best targets. In the morning and on the way to an interview, I will really key-in on monitoring my full breath target. In the 30 minutes before the interview, I will sit in my car and do my PFSP CD. I will get into the interview and then do really well for about 20-30 minutes. After that I tend to get tired and my fluency falls off, so I try really hard to sale myself earlier in the interview as opposed to later.

When I am pursuing a new job, I go through a lot of interviews. I don't really (nor do I care to know) how big a role my stuttering plays in the positions that I am not considered for after I interview. During one interview I was doing really well and then missed one class IV sound and the interviewer looked at my like I had just spontaneously burst into flames. He was clearly rattled after that and started asking questions which made no sense.

Earlier I mentioned my prep for an interview; one time I woke up late (imagine that?), and barely made it to the interview on time and did not have a chance to prepare as I normally do. I have never been less fluent during an interview in my life. My speech was awful and I got so distracted by that, I started giving really bad answers and doing lame things like word substitutions. The interview got so bad that halfway through I was tempted to just end it early and excuse myself. However, a few days after the interview mercifully ended, I was called and offered the position (on the same morning I was downsized from my then-current position). It is funny how things work out sometimes.