I May have yelled down the phone...oops
I May have yelled down the phone...oops
I have this problem at work daily and sometimes it gets downright dangerous as I work in a hospital and clear communication is very important. One girl I worked with couldn't understand us when we said she needed to get out of a room quick as a patient was having a melt down ( mental health ward) and she was in danger. On too many occations I have seen patients given the wrong food by someone who couldn't read English or even understand it ,I explain to them that we cannot give crackers to stroke patients as they choke on it and the person gave crackers to the very next patient who was also on a soft diet and there is clear signs above the patients beds as to their diet requirements and on our menu list. I also encountered this prob while working in a bank, one of my fellow workers would use the fact that customers could not understand him to open extra accounts ( we had targets as to how many accounts we opened) as they didn't know what he was talking about and then they would come in and complain and close the accounts but he still got his targets and promotions..so so wrong.
Happens all the time ringing Telstra. So now i say "complaints" when asked what i want and i guarantee you will get someone who speaks clear english.
It is pretty hard to draw a line and say x can be understood but y can't. I am quite good a understanding thick accents and have been in situations where I have translated for people where both have been speaking english. There is no easy answer to this one, because they may have english skills, it is just delivered with an accent....and heard in another way entirely.
I can totally sympathize OP, and I am a foreigner English is my second language and it bothers me when I have to deal with people who obviously can't speak English. My DH's family is of European background and some of his relatives who have been here for decades still can't speak English... I just don't get it!
I had this problem with a Dr in the ER when I was miscarrying. It was pretty awful, I had nfi what he was telling me, if I was still pregnant or what was going on. I basically went home, finished miscarrying and came back the next day. When I did French lessons at school I wouldnt have passed if I'd spoken with an accent no-one could understand. U thought the IELTS test was a little stricter than high school French, but I must be wrong.
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This happens to me a lot because I have a hard time understanding different accents. I'm not sure why, I just really struggle with it. My ex-MIL has a thick British accent and it happened when I spoke with her too. If I am conducting personal business and can't understand the operator, I just politely ask to speak to the next person. I feel very embarrassed asking, and I wish I had a better ear.
Ugh, it p's me off too! Good communication skills should be part of the job requirement, if yours are crap (because you have an accent or because you can't get to the point or you are just really badly spoken) then you shouldn't get the job.
I don't think it is racist to be frustrated in this circumstance. In the same way it wouldn't be 'wafflist' if the problem was that they waffled on and couldn't get to the point.
DH is so so bad at understanding people with accents, it's almost funny sometimes cos he is just unreasonably bad at it!
I often find it's not the accent that is the problem, more the people I've dealt with have been too softly spoken and the line connection is bad/noisy. Then pair that with my own children making noise in the background, and phone dealings become impossible!
*I can haz typos*
If being able to be understood is an "inherent requirement" of a position, such as in the OPs situation, an employer is within their rights not to hire someone who can't be understood, e.g. Mumbles, accent / poor English. Well this is in NSW anyway but I believe it would be very similar, if not the same, elsewhere in Australia.
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