I don’t know if there is a large audience for a podcast about being disabled and working in public accounting, but I went ahead with this project as if there were one.
From the beginning of taking this course, I knew that I wanted to interview accountants with disabilities to learn more about their lives. I wanted to understand why they chose their careers, what kinds of accommodations they needed, and what changes they wanted to see in the field to become more inclusive. Of course, I had my own ideas about these issues, but I knew that my perspective alone would not be enough, and I wanted to challenge my previously-held notions.
I began brainstorming the questions I wanted to ask, and I thought about who I wanted to interview. I have a few friends who are disabled, and I wanted to hear their opinions, so I asked them if they would be interested in being interviewed, and they agreed. I also advertised my request for interview subjects over Instagram and at the Disability Business Resource Group at my work. I promised all of my interview subjects that they would be anonymous and let them know my intentions for this audio story.
In total, I have interviewed five people so far and plan on interviewing a 6th person by the end of this week. The people I’ve interviewed come from all over the country, have unique career experiences and represent a range of disabilities.
I am incredibly grateful for the time my interviewees took to answer my questions. All of the people I interviewed are intelligent, hard-working, and thoughtful, and I am so pleased to have the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences. I have two goals for the audio I’ve collected:
- Create a short audio story for the COM 561 course.
- Release a longer-form audio report featuring more of the interviews that paint a greater picture of what it is like to be disabled in the workforce.
I’m not sure who my audience is for these audio stories, but I have some idea. I hope that whoever listens to these stories comes away with a greater understanding of what it is like to be disabled in the workforce. I also hope that the audio project I create may reach someone with a disability considering a career in accounting. Upon listening to these stories, that person will have some idea of the possibilities open to them in public accounting. Or maybe not. Public Accounting is not for everyone, but for many people, it is an upwardly-mobile career that comes with a steady paycheck and benefits.
For each interview, I scheduled an appointment with the interviewee through either WebEx or Zoom because both conferencing programs have easy record options. Each interview was about half an hour-long, and I gave each person a list of general questions I planned on asking. I want to emphasize that I am not an expert on living with a disability in the US. There are many topics related to disability that I am unfamiliar with, so I appreciate everyone’s patience and openness as I asked my questions. I would also like to note that some people I interviewed preferred my usage of the term “neurodiverse” instead of “disabled.” I am very much open to constructive criticism regarding my interviewing techniques because I would like to improve.
After my interviews, I uploaded the raw audio files to google drive, and from there, uploaded those files to Adobe Audition. Next, I created a multitrack session and one-by-one input each full interview into each track. Then I listened to each interview and began the long process of editing 30 minutes of raw audio into 10-second sound bites. The fun part of this process? I still have more editing to do. I still have three more interviews to listen to, upload, and edit down into a three-minute audio file. With each interview, I also have to edit out references to people and companies on top of removing the “umm’s” and sniffles and other weird sounds that come with human speech.
I am happy with what I have as a rough draft. My rough draft consists of three edited interviews, my narration, and a copyright-free song I found online. The music in the background of the interviews is “Etude Op. 25 no. 2 in F minor – ‘The Bees'”, and I chose it for its fun, energetic pace. I also edited the song slightly to match the flow of dialogue, though I know this process is not perfect, so I plan on making more edits upon hearing the critiques of my team members. I do not think the music is louder than anyone’s dialogue, but I have also listened to the same audio file for a week now, so I look forward to some fresh perspectives.