Code switching is a term used to describe using different accents in different situations. A lot of clients say two things:
1. They are afraid to change their accent because they will no longer be accepted by peers.
2. They are afraid if they do not improve their accent it may negatively impact their career.
This is where code switching becomes a great option.
We all code switch. We talk differently to our parents than we would to our boss. We talk to our friends differently than we talk to our co-workers. You can do the same with your accent. Use your native accent with family and your “new” accent at work.
Bill Clinton is an excellent example of a code switcher. When he talked to groups in the north, he used a very neutral accent. In the south, he used his more southern accent. Both accents are fine. One is just more “comfortable” to listen to depending on the group.
While code switching can be turned “on and off”, it is a bit out of our control. In my case, I start using my PIttsburgh accent when I talk to family. My good friends notice when I have talked to them since my accent changes a bit. It is completely out of my control. The good news is that I can switch back to my more neutral accent quickly now that I have been using it for years.