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Will They Know? Navigating Workplace Dyslexia

Hi, I’m Heidi, a marketing specialist with a secret that colors every aspect of my professional life—I’m dyslexic. My thoughts race ahead, often faster than the conversation around me. Navigating workplace dyslexia shapes my daily routines and interactions, and I’m always left wondering, “Can they tell?”

Morning Routine and Email Struggles

My mornings start slowly as I tackle my inbox with the help of text-to-speech software. Reading and comprehending emails can be arduous, and each word demands attention. As the robotic voice reads the messages, I follow along, anxious to get all the details. I often wonder if my colleagues would realize how much harder I have to work at tasks they find simple. Navigating workplace dyslexia means every email is a test of patience and focus.

Challenges in Campaign Development and Navigating Workplace Dyslexia in Meetings

Creating marketing campaigns lets my strengths shine. Here, I’m in my element, crafting visuals and conceptualizing videos where words often fail me. However, this strength comes with its shadow—writing copy and detailed reports. I rely on speech-to-text technology, speaking my ideas aloud and then revising extensively. Every document sent out is double and triple-checked. I often worry about leaving a trace of my struggles in an awkwardly phrased sentence or a misplaced comma.

Meetings are another battlefield. Presenting ideas without stumbling over words is a dance of preparation and control. I use pre-recorded segments to ensure clarity, but as I switch slides, I scan the room. “Do they see through my strategies?” I constantly question, feeling the weight of every glance. Navigating workplace dyslexia requires constant vigilance and adaptation.

Strategies to Manage Impulses and Ensure Clarity

My mind races constantly, always steps ahead of the current discussion, which makes waiting for my turn to speak excruciating. To manage this, I’ve developed a technique: pressing a finger against my thigh as a reminder to pause and not interrupt. Once the speaker finishes, I count to five before responding. This delay feels like an eternity but ensures I respect the flow of conversation and contribute thoughtfully.

I’m also careful about how long I speak. I silently count the seconds, aiming to keep my contributions under 90 seconds. This not only helps maintain engagement but also prevents me from revealing my difficulties through prolonged exposure. Each interaction is a calculated effort to remain concise and relevant, constantly questioning, “Was that too much? Did I manage to keep it hidden?” These strategies are essential for navigating workplace dyslexia successfully.

Reflections on Openness and Self-Acceptance

One day, after a minor but noticeable mistake during a presentation, I made a choice that changed everything. I shared my dyslexia with my team. The fear of judgment was overwhelming, but the support I received was unexpected and heartwarming. This moment of vulnerability turned into a source of strength.

Now, as I navigate my tasks, the old questions still echo in my mind, but they are quieter now. I no longer feel as though I’m just hiding a part of myself; instead, I’m learning to integrate my unique perspective fully. This has not only improved my professional relationships but has also allowed me to mentor others who struggle silently, showing them that navigating workplace dyslexia and diversity in thinking are invaluable.

In embracing my whole self, including my dyslexia and rapid thought processes, I’ve discovered a deeper confidence. The constant questioning hasn’t completely disappeared, but now it’s joined by a stronger voice, one that speaks of resilience, acceptance, and the undeniable value of being different. Navigating workplace dyslexia is no longer just a challenge but a journey toward self-acceptance and professional growth.