The other day at work I received a phone call. It was my employer phoning from the airport on his way to London. There was of course a lot of background noise. Add to that the land line phone to the office is overloaded with broadband, EFTPOS and fax and therefore has a lot of interference. I was using a hands free handset which gives me distortion and buzzing. In addition he was phoning from a mobile and the call was breaking up. Little wonder I couldn’t really understand what he was saying but I could sense his frustration in not being able communicate with me. I tried to tell him he was breaking up and then the line went dead. I don’t know if he hung up or whether we were cut off. I felt inadequate.
A few seconds later my mobile rang (and I answered the land line phone didn’t I!) I answered the call and while it was clearer, by now I was a little anxious and so couldn’t hear (or keep the phone sweet spot over my Cochlear Implant Processor microphone) so once again I felt inadequate. I calmed down, asked him to hold and got out my processor cord and plugged into the phone and processor. This at last gave me good clear consistent sound and I felt better about being able to hear his conversation clearly.
I know I got the job because they thought I could do it. And I know they have been more than appreciative of the skill set I apply and the volume of work I get through. But the phone has been a bit of contention since day one. I actually did a phone interview to get the job and because it was on my mobile I was able to communicate well. How was I to know that their landline phone would be bad and their handsets not compatible with my implant?
Interestingly, at another place I work I also have trouble hearing the owner – but no problems in hearing any other calls I need to make. So what is it that makes me feel inadequate when talking to my employers? Why should I when I have so many skills?
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