Dear Annie: I'm almost 19 years old, and I've had a speech problem ever since I could talk. When I was about 7, I started getting help to correct my speech, and I continued until I graduated high school. Around that time, I got a part-time job. I worked with a lot of customers, and a lot of times they would ask me whether I came from out of the country, because I sound as if I have an "English accent."
I've been asked so much that I've tried to take it as a compliment, but now that I have a new job working with customers full time, it's becoming more of a problem. It gets annoying, but with a customer service job, I cannot get angry with our customers. I talked with my parents about it, and they said that I just have to try to not have it get to me.
The problem is that because I am asked almost constantly, I've become very self-conscious. I try my best not to have my speech problem, but it's not something that I can fully control. I need advice on how not to be fast to anger when asked about my "accent." Have any pointers to help me get through my day? — Speech Problems in Pennsylvania
Dear Speech: I'm printing your letter because you offer an invaluable perspective. I will now think twice before asking someone about an "accent," which might turn out to be an alienating and awkward question, as you've shown.
As for your getting through the day, focus on what you can control. You can't control what customers say, but you get to decide whether or not it bothers you. For what it's worth, I've found that meditation can work wonders to make all the annoying, stressful parts of daily life a little less so.
Dear Annie: Your suggestion to scroll down and hit "unsubscribe" on unwanted emails could result in your reader's being hacked. My computer guru tells me to first check the email address of where it originated to make sure it is not spam (i.e., from a malicious or fraudulent sender, as opposed to a vendor whose mailing list you're actually on). Hitting "unsubscribe" tells the sender there is someone working that email address.
Any emails not wanted should be blocked instead so they go into the junk email folder. Any emails wanted can be sorted by going to the search box at the top and putting in the name or subject. That will reduce the list of emails to be sorted through.
I am sure other readers have more suggestions. — Full Inbox, Too
Dear Full: Right you are. Here's another.
Dear Annie: Once "Inbox Infinity," who has 6,972 unread emails, clears out her inbox and prevents future floods, she should set up one account for friends and family only and a second account for commercial transactions and shopping. The second account would be disposable, so if it got overwhelming or were spammed or hacked, she could close it easily and start a new one. We have done this for years with great success. — Jean in Florida
Dear Jean: That's a useful tip. Divide and conquer.
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