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The Laryngitis Saga (aka How I Interviewed for a New Job With No Voice)

December 27, 2010

It’s time for me to share my laryngitis saga from a few weeks back. I think laryngitis has got to be one of the worst things you can have happen to your body (fatal diseases and injuries notwithstanding). But like life, my bout of laryngitis proved to be a challenge I needed to overcome in order to persevere in the end.

On an early December Saturday, I had a coughing attack that followed with a little tickle in my throat. That, compounded by the post-nasal drip I had for weeks, was a signal that things weren’t looking too good. By Monday afternoon, I was in the throws of a full-blown cold/allergy/what-have-you situation. I was loosing my voice. I felt tired with a headache. My sinuses were acting up. It was bad.

The worst part about all this is that I had a job interview the next day. This was a writing job I was really excited about, and couldn’t wait to go in and prove myself to the hiring committee. I went to bed early hoping a good night of sleep would restore my body for the big interview. So of course, when I woke up Tuesday, I had full-blown laryngitis. Why, WHY?!

You realize how much you depend on your voice when you don’t have it. All my feeble attempts to raise my voice with Sophie are out the window. Laryngitis is like a free pass to her. I can’t sing in the car. Bryan was probably frustrated because I couldn’t clearly communicate information to him. And my dogs thought I was ignoring them by not saying anything as I walked by them in the hallway.

I felt like I was in the middle of a Brady Bunch episode. You know, the one where Peter’s voice changes right at the critical time when the Brady kids are supposed to compete in a singing competition? Or the one where Carol gets laryngitis when she is scheduled to sing at the Christmas church service. I love the Brady Family; but I digress…

So here I was, Tuesday morning, with no voice. Nothing but a whisper (if that). Several thoughts went through my head. Should I cancel the interview? Should I call and warn the hiring committee of my scary lack-of-voice? I really didn’t want to cancel. And truth be told, I actually physically felt better; it was just my voice that was shot. I knew the committee members, so at least they would know I did, in fact, have a voice.

After much internal debate, I decided to stick with the original plan to interview that day. I stayed home from work that morning to rest and not talk to anyone. I drank lots of hot tea, took ibuprofen, and hoped for the best. Armed with my bottle of water, I went into the interview room. I smiled and did my best to project the excitement I really was feeling. When I told the group that I had laryngitis, they were very understanding. In fact, one committee member even quipped that luckily this position was for a writer and not a speaker.

After an hour, I thought the interview went well, despite the fact that I could barely communicate. After a 30-minute writing exercise, I went home, collapsed on the couch, and hoped for the best. I got a call two days later for a second interview. I still had very little voice, but it wasn’t as bad as Tuesday. And I’m very proud and excited to say that the following Tuesday – a week after the laryngitis struck – I was offered the job!

While I would not recommend getting laryngitis the day of a big job interview, it was certainly an experience and something I feel I proudly conquered. I stayed positive; I didn’t let the circumstances get the best of me. It was as if I was being challenged – by God, the universe, who knows – and how I handled the circumstance was the test. I think I passed this one with high marks.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2010 5:15 pm

    Congratulations on getting the job! And by overcoming such adversity to do it. 🙂 May I ask, where will you be working now? What is the amazing new writing job?

    • leahsinger permalink
      December 27, 2010 5:39 pm

      Thanks, Shari! I’m still working at the University I’m at now. Only I’ll be doing speechwriting and communication for our university president. I’m so excited! And to be writing too! I’ll be writing more about the job in an upcoming post.

      • December 27, 2010 7:56 pm

        Very cool! I’ve wanted to learn more about speechwriting myself, but I haven’t had any opportunities arise professionally to try it. That sounds like a very fun job. Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  2. December 27, 2010 9:01 pm

    Good for you!
    I remember a few years ago I lost my voice altogether– I wrote notes for my oldest to read to the others. Totally frustrating.

  3. December 28, 2010 12:49 am

    Congratulations! Who needs a voice when you’re a talented writer?! I bet Sophie loved that you could’t talk. LOL! I lose my voice once a month and my kids think it’s the greatest thing ever.

    • leahsinger permalink
      December 28, 2010 7:58 pm

      Thank you, Ana! Yes, Sophie thought it was just great.

  4. December 28, 2010 5:55 am

    Leah, congrats on getting a job do you think at one point you will be teaching writing. I wish I could attend your classes.

    • leahsinger permalink
      December 28, 2010 7:59 pm

      Thank you so much! I’ve never thought about teaching writing. But you never know. I’ll be sure to let you know if I do!

  5. Jeannie permalink
    December 28, 2010 7:19 am


  6. December 28, 2010 8:59 pm

    Awesome success story. I work at a university as well but as a career counselor — this is a good example for my students of possible interview barriers and how to overcome them. While it doesn’t happen often, I’ve heard their reasons for missing job interviews and it’s usually for something far less than laryngitis! Congrats!

  7. December 28, 2010 11:03 pm

    Congratulations! Hey, so when does the new job begin? And does your current job already know? Also, will you be working in the president’s office (where Aaron works)? I’ve been going there a lot.

  8. Wendi permalink
    December 30, 2010 9:27 am

    Congratulations, Leah – this is just awesome!

  9. Liz permalink
    May 13, 2011 6:33 am

    I don’t know you but I’m ‘heading off to an interview now with the same condition. Thought I’d google laryngitis and job interview and see what came up. Your story is inspiring and reminded me that I can get through this–if not, they can send ME home because I’m not canceling!

    • Leah permalink*
      May 13, 2011 10:38 pm

      I’m so glad you stoped by. Now I’m dying to know how the interview went!

  10. lizzy permalink
    June 28, 2013 12:35 pm

    Ironically I am in the very same situation. Like Liz I googled it to see what choices other people have made. Thanks for your post, it helps me to feel more comfortable knowing that the laryngitis didn’t prove to be a negative in your interview. & late conngrats.

  11. Cicely permalink
    October 29, 2013 4:39 am

    Thank you for writing this article! I have a interview today and no voice. I simply asked goggle and your blog appeared!! Thank you!!!


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