Professional settings can be intimidating, especially for those interviewing for new positions or entering their field right after graduation. The prospect of landing a job can push people, including speech-language pathologists, to put forth a more straight-laced, toned-down appearance.

However, standing out isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’s one point Maggie Donaker, the most recent guest on The Missing Link for SLPs podcast, drove home. After being called “eccentric” during an interview, Maggie could have changed her professional persona. Instead, she chose to take the description as a compliment. 

After all, being eccentric doesn’t need to be a negative thing. In fact, more SLPs should strive to embrace their authentic selves on the job.

SLPs Should Think Outside the Box

A career in speech pathology — particularly in the medical setting — requires problem-solving skills. That’s why SLPs who can think outside the box can prove valuable assets to a team.

Of course, those who wander off the beaten path will sometimes be viewed as outsiders. But assuming you’re following protocol and doing what’s best for the patient, trying new or different treatment approaches isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can prove the best thing for the people in your care.

Don’t Try to Emulate Someone Else

Even if you could turn off the qualities that set you apart, you wouldn’t be able to become someone else. No matter how much you might admire other professionals in the field, you can’t become them — and that’s a good thing.

The field of speech pathology needs a variety of clinicians to function, and you’ll always bring something unique to the table. Rather than envy what other speech pathologists have or attempt to emulate them, it’s best to pinpoint what exactly you admire about their work. Then, you can implement that into your own career without sacrificing your unique treatment style.

Being Proactive Is Better Than Being If You Can’t Be You, It’s Not for You

Some SLPs might believe being eccentric will lose them opportunities, but here’s the catch: any organization that rejects your authentic self isn’t for you anyway. 

Of course, rejection is rarely so personal. But if you’re told you wouldn’t fit into a certain setting, it’s best to let go of that idea. You’ll do your best work in an environment that reflects your values and beliefs — and it’s okay if some places don’t.

Want to learn more about Maggie and her journey to becoming an SLP? Listen to her and Mattie chat on The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast.

Did you know Mattie provides coaching to SLPs? Learn more here.

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