My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: dress clothes (page 1 of 2)

The Thompson Tee – Thanksgiving Promo

If you are looking for a shirt to wear that’s sweat-friendly, doesn’t show pit stains, and actually keeps you cooler as you sweat, then you need to check out the Thompson Tee. Right now, from November 21-28, you can get one for 20 percent off using the code president Billy Thompson created just for you, My Life as a Puddle readers. That code is Puddle2014.

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I’ve got several of these shirts myself, both the men’s and the women’s versions, so I’ve personally tested these out and done things like shovel snow in a fleece sweatshirt and winter coat. You know, stuff that really makes you sweat under all those layers. These shirts work!

A few of my favorite things about the Thompson Tee:

  • they are made in the good old USA
  • 30 days risk-free – wear it, wash it, try it
  • earth-friendly manufacturing process that doesn’t produce VOCs
  • they are comfortable underneath dress clothes – button-down shirts, blazers, and suit coats.

And, I correspond regularly with the president of the company to give him feedback on these products. What’s better than firsthand experience from someone with sweaty underarms?

So grab ’em while the price is hot and before YOU get hot.

Go to www.thompsontee.com and enter code Puddle2014 for 20 percent off. Let me know what you think.

A new bamboo/Spandex version is also available now, too, so I’m looking forward to trying one of these next.

Want more info? Read my other posts about the Thompson Tee.

Hyperhidrosis and Public Speaking

Sorry to leave you hanging with my last post, Around Here Lately, where I mentioned I did some public speaking.  Remember when my dear friend Sandy passed away in April? If you missed that post, please catch up. It’s called I’ll Love You Long After You’re Gone.  My first real stint at public speaking happened as a result of her passing.  I was asked to deliver the eulogy at her celebration of life service, an honor I still to this day cannot believe was mine.

 

I was extremely nervous about giving Sandy’s eulogy.  I wanted to write something that would honor her and share with others all of the lessons she taught me.  I wanted to be able to speak well, to get through it without sounding unintelligible amidst my tears.  In addition, I wanted to deliver the eulogy from a dry place.   I am happy to report I was able to do all of these things.  How did I do it?  I started by asking for what I needed, a skill that is crucial for people with hyperhidrosis to master.

 

Ask for What You Need

Public speaking is a surefire trigger for inducing sweat.  Remember, people with hyperhidrosis have overactive sweat glands that respond to stimuli much more easily than the average person’s do.  In order to combat the sweat fest I knew would ensue once I was standing at the podium on the alter in the church, I had to make my needs known.  The pastor  called to talk to me about Sandy so he could get to know what she had been like as a person.  When we spoke, I explained that I  had hyperhidrosis and what it was.  He knew I was fully committed to delivering the eulogy and wanted to help in any way he could.  I asked if the church had a small fan that we could plug in near the podium, which they did.

 

The morning I arrived at the church, I made sure to get there early. Being rushed or running late also makes me sweat, so I was trying to control the situation as much as I could to prevent the flood gates from opening.  I wanted to look nice for Sandy’s service so I dressed up, another trigger since dress clothes aren’t always “safe clothes” like my jeans are.  I chose a blue and white dress that matched the ocean/nautical theme of her tribute. It was made from polyester, a fabric that is really good at concealing sweat. I wore silver ballet flats that have Summer Soles shoe inserts in them for an added sweat absorption factor, plus some cotton no-show socks, so it looked like I had normal feet and a shoe selection like everyone else.

 

Trust in Yourself

When I walked into the sanctuary, I surveyed the room to get an idea of where I would be in relation to all of the people who would be gathered to honor Sandy and be staring up at me.  The podium was to the right, and when I walked up the steps to stand behind it, there was the fan the pastor had promised me would be there.  The fan was on the floor directly underneath the small ledge that would hold my paper copy of Sandy’s eulogy.  I was expecting the fan to be over to the side with just a tad bit of airflow I could feel, but it was directly in front of my feet and pointed up.  I tested out the fan speeds and settled on low.  I didn’t want to look like a supermodel at a photo shoot with my hair and dress blowing out behind me!  After placing my hard copy of the eulogy on the podium, I took out a handkerchief from my purse and placed it to my right for extra protection.  I had control over my immediate area, and I trusted that I could pull this off.

 

My view from the podium.

My view from the podium.

Have a Plan B

When placing yourself in a sweat-inducing situation, always have a back-up plan.  Mine was having the pastor sitting right behind me as I gave the eulogy.  He told me if I got up there and suddenly panicked or was crying too much that he would take over for me.  I just had to point to where I was on the hard copy and he’d take it from there.  While I knew I wouldn’t allow myself to get to plan B, it was nice to know I had an option if I needed one.  Always hope for the best, but never underestimate the importance of having additional measures put in place ahead of time.

 

Take Risks

The first 20 minutes or so of the service I don’t really recall very well, since all I could think about was what I was about to do.  Approximately 100 people attended Sandy’s service, but I didn’t know that until I got up to speak.  I was sitting in the second row of pews, with everyone arriving and sitting behind me.  Delivering Sandy’s eulogy was almost an out-of-body experience for me in some ways.  I took a risk by putting myself out there and standing up in all my sweating glory.  It was worth it, though.  Take risks for the people you love.  Trust in yourself.  When the going gets tough, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in the name of someone else.  I was able to speak slowly, clearly, and could be understood right up until the very end when I cried while saying the last line.

Public speaking is possible with hyperhidrosis.

Public speaking is possible with hyperhidrosis.

 

Don’t Let Your Circumstances Cloud Positive Memories

Giving Sandy’s eulogy was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.  I wrote it over a span of a few days, but her service wasn’t until 6 weeks after she passed away.  Then, right before her service, my personal life took a turn I was not expecting.  So, the grief and sadness over losing Sandy, combined with the shock and intensity of other things, could have clouded my view the day of Sandy’s service.  We always have a choice in how we respond to our life circumstances.  Never let your current situation cloud good memories, especially if you have gathered to celebrate the life of someone you love.  Be present in the moment, because it’s all you really ever have.  I am humbled and honored to have given the eulogy for Sandy.  I am proud to say that I didn’t let my excessive sweating or personal circumstances get in the way of remembering her light.

 

A tribute to my friend and surrogate mother Sandy.

A tribute to my friend and surrogate mother Sandy.

Stay tuned for Sandy’s eulogy.  I’ll share it next time, otherwise this post will be too long, and I know you probably hate scrolling because your sweaty hand has to stay on the mouse longer.


 

Copyright © 2013 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

Hyperhidrosis and Fall

Yay! Fall! It’s by far my favorite season. The leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping, making way for new and better things in a new season of life. It’s time to shed the old things from my life this year that I’ve experienced with my hyperhidrosis because I can look forward to several months of cooler air and easier life since my sweating won’t be as bad overall.

 

Fall Trees

Fall=less sweating for me

 

There do seem to be pockets of sweat time, though. Take for example my time up in the mountains this weekend. I love Fall for many reasons. One of them is that it signals cyclocross season. My husband is a professional cyclist in addition to his day job, and his busiest time for bike races is Fall. I like cyclocross because it means I can stand outside in cooler air and enjoy the breeze and the smell of leaves. If you know me, you know I love trees. Don’t put it past me to literally stop alongside one and sniff its leaves. Fall scents rock.

 

Before we drove up to the mountains for my husband’s race, we stopped at Subway to grab some lunch. I can’t go into Subway without having a massive sweating episode. It’s horrible. I think it has something to do with the humidity level generated by the ovens used to bake the bread. I avoid going inside if my husband is with me. He has my sandwich order memorized anyway, so I just let him go inside and get it for me. If it’s me going, the sweating starts as soon as I pull into the parking lot and just gets worse from there. Once I get in line, my glands start working overtime to produce the precise amount of sweat needed to make me feel completely uncomfortable and like an outcast in my own body.

 

Depending on what type of clothing I’m wearing, my posture in line might change. Long sleeves command the arms folded position, that way both palms have some fabric to rest on. Either that or I do the nonchalant one-armed wrist hold like I’m checking my watch and holding it in place.  If I have short sleeves on, my hands will go to my pants pockets, but not fully in my pockets, since that makes them sweat more. I’ll just tease my pockets with the tips of my fingers so that my palms can rest against that gloriously absorbent fabric known as cotton. (Because yes, I can guarantee if I’m in Subway I will have jeans or jean shorts on. I would NEVER go there in dress clothes during the work day to eat lunch. Are you kidding? I’d have to go home and change if I did that because I’d soak the front of my pants with my hands.) Or, I’ll hook my thumbs in my pockets and go for the relaxed look, which cleverly disguises the freak-out session I’m having in my brain because I’m 1) standing in line, 2) sweating profusely because I’m standing in line and it’s humid, and 3) they’d better hurry me through this line because I’m sweating all for a measly sandwich and am going to smell like bread for the rest of the day regardless of how long I’ve actually been in the store. Oh, the joys of standing in line as a sweaty person.

 

My husband successfully gets our sandwiches and comes back to the car dry as bone. Jerk. We begin our drive to the mountains, and it’s about 35 degrees and raining, which is cool, but that also means we have the heater on. I have a love/hate relationship with car heaters, especially if I’m in someone else’s car. It is so awkward to sit in someone else’s car and try to bear the agony if it’s too hot for me. It’s sometimes all I can think about if I’m in the passenger seat. It’s very hard to strike a perfect temperature balance when you have hyperhidrosis, and even harder to do so when your husband has less body fat then you do and gets cold more easily. He also has a smaller waist and better legs, but I digress.

Endurance News Fall 2012 cover

My husband rocking the cover of Hammer Nutrition’s Endurance News magazine!

 

While I managed to avoid the sweating at Subway, I started to get hot and damp in the car. If you have a sweating problem, you probably know the importance of dressing in layers. I took off my puffy down vest and just had on my long-sleeved shirt, but it was over a tank top because my back sweats more now than it did before I had Botox. I got out of the car to grab some Starbucks and was slightly cold because it was windy, but also because I had just gotten over my dampness in the car. I sweat because I just do, but I also get hot more easily than the average person, and then I get cold because my sweat evaporates. My body is totally bi-polar. I’d rather be cold than hot, though. As we drove the rest of the way to the race, the sun shone down into the car as we meandered down a tree-lined street. It was blissful. The heater was off and the sun was curling around me like a warm hug, which I usually avoid because of my sweaty back. I relished those few minutes of perfection.

 

I hung out in the car until the race began. It was windy and cold, and I didn’t want to put my gloves on because then my hands would sweat despite the fact that it was cold out. So while it was warmer in the car, I kept getting too warm and felt myself slipping into a pocket of sweat time. Since I wrote this blog post longhand in my notebook (no, I do not have a tablet or iPad, but it’s on my Christmas wish list), I had to keep opening and closing the car door because my hands were getting damp and sticking to the paper. Open. Close. Sweat on. Sweat off. Perfect. Hot. The proper air flow and temperature kept evading me. I must have opened the door for fresh air at least 20 times while sitting there. The things I do for my sweaty readers, I tell you. But hey, it’s Fall! 🙂


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

ETS Surgery for Hyperhidrosis

Some of you have asked why haven’t I had endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) surgery. ETS is a very serious medical procedure that most people with hyperhidrosis turn to as a last resort for relief. There are pros and cons to this procedure, and the side effects, especially compensatory sweating (CS), are real and do occur. I spoke in person to someone who had ETS performed when I went to a hyperhidrosis symposium. We spoke for about 20 minutes, and he was sweating through his black T-shirt the entire time. He came to the symposium seeking Botox treatment for relief from compensatory sweating. While his original sweating had been cured, he was still suffering from the side effects of ETS surgery.

 

Because compensatory sweating can be worse than the original sweating, many people are now turning to subdermal laser ablation (SDLA) for secondary relief. SDLA typically is not covered by insurance and can range in price, with the upper end being around $10,ooo. For a treatment that isn’t guaranteed to work. I’ve also spoken with someone who has ETS and is now trying SDLA; she, I believe, is going through multiple rounds of treatment in an attempt to stop the compensatory sweating in her trunk area.

 

Only you can decide whether ETS surgery is something you want to pursue. Like any medical procedure, there are risks and benefits. The hard part about ETS is that you won’t know whether the treatment will work until after you’ve had it. They say the CS can lessen over time, but for me, this is a side effect that would be worse than my original palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. I already experience CS on my back after having Botox. I am not willing to subject myself to a procedure that is not guaranteed to work, is a serious medical procedure, and would most likely make me sweat in a different area of my body that could be more socially and professionally debilitating and harder to hide. I don’t want to have to worry even more about the types of clothes I can wear, completely sweating through my clothes and drenching a seat, or the damaging emotional impact from sweating even worse than I already do. I deal with my inner monologue enough as it is. I don’t want to give it the surround sound IMAX experience.

 

Once the nerves are ablated from ETS surgery, there is no going back. ETS is a permanent procedure. There have been no effective ETS surgery reversals reported. If you are considering ETS, please do your homework. Pay attention to the sources from where you are gathering information. Most search engine results will tout the awesomeness of ETS surgery. Of course they will. They want your money. Find a physician who is connected with the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS) using their Physician Finder. These physicians are IHHS-approved and will have better knowledge about hyperhidrosis. They have an arsenal of information and other treatments for hyperhidrosis besides surgery.

 

I’m not saying there aren’t successful ETS procedures performed. Some people do have great results. Only you can decide whether ETS is right for you.

 

To understand more about where I’m coming from regarding ETS surgery and how my body has responded to the treatments I’ve tried to stop my excessive sweating, you can read my post Reflections on Botox.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Wedding Day Hyperhidrosis

This post was inspired by one of my readers who is getting married soon. She asked for advice and tips on how to cope with excessive sweating on such a big day. So, here you go. I did most of these myself, but also came up with a few new ones as I’ve thought about it over the years. These can apply to both females and males.

 

Point an electric fan toward the alter- who cares if people can see it? This was hands down my saving grace during photos and the ceremony. Appoint a bridesmaid (or a groomsman), ideally the one on the far end who would be closest to the fan, to make sure it’s properly angled toward you at all times.

 

Carry a handkerchief in your hand, and/or a backup one in your dress/tux if possible; if you fold it small enough, it’s hard to even see it in your hand. I had to hold one during my vows, but it was totally fine.

 

I took a Xanax about an hour before the ceremony to relax (if you’ve never taken this, experiment way beforehand so you know how your body will react); plus, you’ll need a doctor to prescribe it.

 

A shot or 2 doesn’t hurt, or maybe a small glass of wine, or a mimosa as you’re getting ready if you’re super nervous like I was. I wasn’t nervous to get married, I was nervous about being the center of attention, standing up in front of a church full of guests, and having it trigger my hyperhidrosis.  I don’t advocate being drunk on your wedding day, obviously, but a drink to help take the edge off would not be unwarranted in my opinion. But, if you don’t drink even for special occasions, then ignore this one (especially if you’re under the age of 21 on wedding day).

 

I wore white ballet-type flats with the socks that are specially cut for flats so you can’t see them.

 

If your hyperhidrosis affects your groin area, you can wear men’s boxer briefs under your dress. Not exactly sexy, but they help keep your thighs from rubbing together and the sweat from potentially dripping if it’s really bad. I also talk about how boxer briefs might work well underneath skirts, too.

 

I specifically planned my wedding date around the weather, and it was thankfully a nice day with a breeze and wasn’t overly hot.

 

Have your florist (if you have real flowers) wrap/weave/sew a washcloth or piece of fabric into the handle of your bouquet. My flowers were fake and my mother-in-law sewed a towel around the entire plastic handle for me. Funny part of the story- the surgical towels my gynecologist had in the office were the color of my wedding flowers, so he let me have one to help me cope with the sweat! Hey, whatever works, right?  If you read my post How You Can Help Someone With Hyperhidrosis, you’ll see a picture of my sweat-friendly bridesmaid bouquet from when I was in a friend’s wedding.

towel-wrapped wedding bouquet

My hyperhidrosis-friendly wedding bouquet

 

Summer Soles: I didn’t know about these when I got married 7 years ago, but I did use them in my heels for my bridesmaid dress. They have wool and suede versions. The wool is more absorbent and they stick right inside your shoes. Go to sweathelp.org to find the coupon code for the Summer Soles website- I think it’s for BOGO free. My blog post about those, and other things, is here: Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques

 

Make sure the limo or whatever car you’ll be in is properly cooled down prior to entering it. Same goes for the church, the reception site, etc. I’ve even offered to pay my friends for the extra electricity I generate when I make them crank the air conditioning.

 

Have a bag of ice or an ice cold water bottle nearby. Place it on your wrists and neck to help cool your body temperature.

 

Certain Dri liquid:  Again, with this one I’d start practicing now. The liquid makes me itch really bad, but I forced myself to do it for about 2 weeks leading up to my wedding. Use it at night on your armpits, and then by 2 weeks’ of use you should be used to it enough and have it built up that it will help with the underarm sweating. I have since switched to Certain Dri solid at night, and I can use that without any itching whatsoever. In the morning, I use Secret Clinical Strength, which is a great product.

 

Have a mini-bag or purse that you have at the reception with baby powder, extra handkerchiefs, deodorant, and any other personal items that help keep you dry. Bring an extra pair of socks if you go the ballet flat route.

 

Utilize your bridesmaids/groomsmen! If it’s hot out, ask them to wave a fan in front of your face. So, maybe buy some paper fans in advance? Not like you’re a queen/king and high maintenance, but if you need help on the most important day of your life, do not be afraid to ask for it! If they are your friends/family, they will step up to the plate.

 

And, most importantly, trust that you can get through this day. Yes, you may sweat, but God will help you get through it. You will feel so much love and excitement around that you may not think about sweating as much as you think you are going to. Leading up to it you will, but when you are in the moment it won’t matter as much. But be best friends with your handkerchief, and rock it out.

 

You could even talk about your HH at the reception if you want! Had I been like I am now when I got married, I may have given an impromptu speech to educate my guests and take the pressure off of myself. Once I talk about it, I find I don’t have to worry about it nearly as much.

 

If you’re getting married and have hyperhidrosis, you can do it! Do not let your excessive sweating get in the way of all the happiness, excitement, and social interaction that you so deserve.

Coming From a Place of Yes

Since I had left all of my job interviews and worries behind when I went to visit my grandma, I was able to begin some forward thinking and visualization of what I wanted my life to look like when I got home. Rather than telling the universe what I didn’t want, I chose to tell it what I did want.

 

My mom and I did some shopping while we were visiting. I bought a new messenger bag for my new job that I didn’t yet have. I also bought a few new clothes that were business dress appropriate. As one of my friends would say, “Forward thinking, young grasshopper!” So that’s exactly what I did. Just because you don’t yet have what you want or need doesn’t mean that you can’t guide yourself into achieving it. Just like I don’t have a cure for my hyperhidrosis, I can think toward the future and do the best I can with what I’ve been given.

 

The next day, my lovely aunt contributed to my unemployment fund by donating her services to cut and highlight my hair. She owns her own salon and is ridiculously talented at what she does. I went into the salon wanting a change. My thinking was New Year, New Job, New ‘Do. What a difference a good haircut makes! My confidence improved so much from an hour at the salon. Of note, I usually sweat when I go and get my hair cut, especially when the blow drying begins and I’m trapped underneath the cape. That’s always fun. If I’m getting my hair done in the summer, I can never wear sandals or flip flops because all the hair that’s trimmed off will stick to my feet when it falls. Not a fan of hairy feet!

 

The next day, I got a phone call. The company I had submitted the marketing plan to offered me the job! I accepted immediately, as I didn’t really need to think about it. I didn’t think I’d be offered any other jobs, so why wouldn’t I accept their offer? I had thought about the position and felt it was a good fit. If you know me personally, I feel things very deeply and also wear my heart on my sleeve. This can be good and bad. So, what does touchy, feely me do after hanging up the phone? Cry. It was such a relief to know I no longer had to worry about or fight for a job. So, combine my tears with the fact that I just got off a rather important phone call, and I was sweating. I went downstairs and told my family the good news.

 

It was nice to receive happy news before my grandma’s next round of chemotherapy two days later. I thought I was pretty much okay emotionally regarding this, but once we got to the hospital for her infusion of poison I had a really hard time holding my sh** together. (Um, yeah. Did I mention I tend to use profanity at times? I’m kind of a language-oriented person if you didn’t already know. Sometimes you just need a cuss word to round out a sentence.) I was in the room when the nurse opened the port in my grandma’s chest. My mom left for that part, but I decided to stay. It was the least I could do considering what my grandma was going through. She squeezed my hand as the nurse inserted the needle, and I didn’t even allow myself to go through the inner monologue of Super, my hand is dripping wet and she’s holding it. It was so not about that in that moment.

 

After awhile, my uncle came to the hospital, and I met him in the lobby. That’s when I really freaked out. I was crying and pondering why were we doing this? Was it going to affect her quality of life and be worth it in the long run? My grandma is in her early 80s for crying out loud! But she has always had a choice, and she wanted to try the chemo. We’ve all told her that one round is better than none, two is better than one, etc. If at any time she wants to tell the chemo to take a hike, she can do so. My grandma is one tough lady, and I’ve never heard her complain.

 

It’s important to come from a place of yes in your life. (I’m actually reading a book right now by Bethenny Frankel called A Place of Yes. She is hysterical, by the way. I love her show Bethenny Ever After on the Bravo network.) Like attracts like, so by acting like I had a job already it made sense that I bought a new messenger bag and clothes. It made sense that I got a new haircut. It made sense that yes, I love my grandma and was there to support her and hold her hand. It makes sense that my grandma has a choice of whether to say yes to chemo or yes she’d like to stop. How often are you saying No in your life and attracting what you don’t want? Be able to turn whatever it is that you’re facing into a Yes.

 

Yes, I have hyperhidrosis and it makes my life harder. But yes, I can work with what I’ve got and make it work for me to the best of my ability.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Second-Round Interviews: Where the Sweating Really Begins

So if interviewing the first time with a company isn’t sweat inducing enough, a lot of places may ask you to come back in for another round of interviews. This is a good thing, as it shows they really do have an interest in you. I was called back by two organizations for second-round interviews. I was getting ready to go out of town for a week when they called, so I ended up having to schedule both interviews on the same day, with only 30 minutes in between them! Oh, and did I mention the interviews were on the opposite sides of town? Eek!

I went through my typical pre-interview routine and arrived to interview again for the medical writing web specialist position. I was there for 2 hours since I had to meet with 4 people. Each one of these mini sessions I felt went very well. In one of them, a person and I chatted about the proper use of grammar and how it can so often be used incorrectly in movies on the big screen. I also was able to share my Botox story and explain more about the writing I’ve done for the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

In another mini session, I felt I was able to convey my desire to be part of a team and my willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. I think they really liked the part when I said “Since when is a job description ever only what it says it is? My last job title was Medical Editor, but I did program management stuff.” They also seemed to appreciate the fact that I said I’d never tell them No. I may ask a ton of questions, clarify expectations, etc., but I will never refuse to do my best to help when and where I can. All of this was coming from my heart and wasn’t simply an attempt to sell myself to them. I told this company in my cover letter that people would describe me as caring, loyal, hardworking, and authentic. When you know who you are, it’s easier to identify the traits and abilities with which you have been blessed.

This is important: be yourself in interviews. Yes, you may have to fake a certain level of confidence sometimes, but underneath all the mumbo jumbo try to remain true to who you are. People can tell when you are being real with them, and also when you’re not. As an example, one of the other people who interviewed me asked me if there was anything else I wanted her to know about me. My response: “Even at the risk of sounding cliché or cheesy, it’s important that you know how much I love working with the written word. Confucius once said, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ I am a total word nerd, so this job would be a really good fit for me.”

After meeting with all 4 people, I actually had to cut the interview short since my other one for the marketing and communications manager was beginning in 20 minutes across town. This was kind of awkward, but I had to do what I had to do. I speed walked from the elevator to the parking garage and hightailed it out of there to hopefully get there on time. Remember the I hate to be rushed discussion? Well, the rushing was in full force at this point, and I was going 80 mph down the interstate to get there on time. 80 mph with the windows cracked so I could get some air flow going. I made a wrong turn at one point and ended up blowing through a stop sign while I was at it, but thankfully only one other car was there that honked at me.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was right on time with zero time to spare. I had maybe 30 seconds in the lobby before I was whisked back to meet with the CEO. It was a fairly short interview, and we hardly talked at all about the job itself. We talked more about the revamping of the organization and how only a few of the original employees stayed on with him during the restructuring process. He mentioned what courage and stamina it took those people to decide to stay, and I was able to use this as a segue into talking about my blog and how I understood the importance of courage and standing in the truth of who you are. All in all, it was a very good conversation. Since I only met with the CEO, I wasn’t there for very long the second time around. I was given a mini marketing project to complete, as the candidates they were interviewing didn’t have the marketing experience they were looking for. This project was to gauge where I was creatively. I took the project home and was given the weekend to complete it.

Needless to say, I was exhausted after a day’s worth of second-round interviews, so I peeled off my dress clothes and relaxed in some sweats. I got a good start on the marketing project before I jumped on a plane the next day to surprise my grandma who currently is undergoing chemotherapy. There were many blessings in disguise that resulted from my being laid off, this being one of them. My generous uncle contributed to my unemployment fund by flying me out as a surprise so my grandma could see her first-born grandchild. I’ll be blogging about this next. I am so grateful I was able to board a plane on short notice to see my family!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

My Pre-Interview Routine

Call me superstitious, but since 2004 I’ve listened to the same song on my way to an interview. I’ve talked about India.Arie before. I learned about her thanks to the Oprah Winfrey Show, and ever since I saw her perform Video on Oprah’s stage I’ve loved her. Her music speaks to the very depths of my soul. She has a song called Strength, Courage, and Wisdom that I’ve used as my mantra any time I need to present my very best self. It works.

Over the years, especially this past year or so, I’ve added other types of music to my interview playlist. I’m really digging gospel and contemporary Christian music for the specific job interview scenario. I don’t listen to it all the time, but there is something about the way black people sing that infuses me with awe and inspiration. (Side note: I’ve always loved soul and R&B music. I grew up listening to Michael and Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men, and Tevin Campbell. Can we talk for a minute? My wedding song was Grace by MeShell Ndegeocello. I’ll give you five bucks if you even know who she is.) I told a girlfriend once over IM that sometimes I think I should have been born black. I already have the “ghetto” booty. 😉 Needless to say, she laughed. But seriously. My music collection is mainly by black artists, with the exception of my boyfriend John Mayer.

So, whatever type of music you listen to, create a playlist of songs that make you feel good and remind you of what you have to offer the world. If you can focus on the music on your way to an interview, you can take some of the focus off of your sweating. You already know you should arrive to your interview a few minutes early, so use some of that time to center yourself. Listen to your best I am awesome, hear me roar song one more time before you get out of the car, take some deep breaths, say a prayer, chant something, etc. Whatever it is that you do, do it. Align your mental state with your intention and the outcome that you desire.

You should already be prepared research-wise for the interview, preferably with some notes jotted down that you can refer to when you’re actually in the interview. Don’t lie to yourself and think that you’re going to remember all of the information you found on the company, what questions to ask them, what the job description is, and scenarios that you’ve been in that can apply to the job for which you’re applying. You’re not going to remember it all, and that’s perfectly fine. Hence the power of the written word! Write this stuff down and help you help yourself.

If there is a bathroom available before I get to the reception desk and no one will see me go in, I always stop. Even if I don’t have to go, I will still use the sink to rinse my hands under cold water to try and calm down the sweating. I also use this as a chance to rearrange my shirt if necessary. If I’m wearing a short-sleeved shirt underneath a suit jacket, I’ll straighten the sleeves and pull them down since they usually get bunched up underneath my extra-wet-for-the-occasion armpits.

Once I’m ready to announce myself to the receptionist or front desk clerk or whomever I’m told to ask for depending on the interview environment, I sit down in the lobby if I have time so that I can adapt to the room temperature. If you’re someone with hyperhidrosis, you’re going to have time. I hate to be rushed for anything. It makes me sweat. So my entire interview process begins way in advance of the time I’m actually scheduled to come to an interview.

The last thing worth mentioning is that since you’ve already jotted down some notes, make sure you bring a pen with you, one that you know has fresh ink and will last through the interview so that you don’t have to borrow one of theirs. I don’t like borrowing pens because I worry about giving them back all wet and coated with a layer of dried sweat. You’ll need a pen to jot down the name(s) of whom you meet if they don’t automatically give you a business card. Letter writing is a lost art. Revive it by sending handwritten thank you cards as a follow up to your interview; emails can be impersonal, and chances are the person who is interviewing you gets enough of them on a daily basis. Don’t crowd their inbox. Take up a small desk residence instead and mail them a smile.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

A Week Straight of Sweaty Interviews

Looking for a job is hard work. When I was able to schedule a week’s worth of interviews (to get companies to actually call you is a feat in and of itself ), I was excited yet also totally freaked out. That’s a lot of dress clothes and company research and advanced worrying about the anticipation of my sweating I had to endure. At least I could get them all out of the way in one shot, though.

The first Interview was for a marketing and communications manager position. After I interviewed with this organization, I had mixed feelings when I left the interview. Mixed in the sense that I didn’t know how well it went. I liked the organization and felt like it was a good fit for me, and I for them. I met with four different people and answered many different questions. Overall, I thought it went okay, except for one of the interviews in which I basically had to go bullet point by bullet point down the job description to convince one person I was qualified for the job. That portion of the interview was absolutely nerve wracking and was the part where I was sweating the most. I almost felt like my face turned red at one point, which can happen as part of my hyperhidrosis.

That part of the interview was the last one I had before leaving the office. On the way home, I felt like such a failure. I had prepared for the interview as best I could, did my standard pre-interview routine to pump myself up (I’ll be talking about this in another blog post), and came in with my portfolio ready to display. By the time I got home, though, I didn’t know what to think. I was just numb from the process and thought for sure I had failed the interview. I still had an editing test to complete, though, which thankfully they allowed me to take home. I emailed the test back and started the waiting process again.

The next day I interviewed for a training editor position. My best friend had called me early that morning to alert me of some developing marketing announcements about the company that she had heard on the morning news. I’m so glad she called, as I was able to talk about this information in the interview. They were very surprised I knew of these latest announcements, so it helped me stand out and showed I was doing my research on their company. However, this interview went so smoothly and I was so calm that I think I may have come across as arrogant and overqualified. I am not arrogant. Confident in certain situations, yes, but arrogant, no. So when I left this interview, I again didn’t know what to think. I felt good about it, but at the same time I thought maybe I seemed overbearing.

So now it’s midweek, and the combination of a crummy interview and a good interview put me in a healthy place for an interview for a medical writing web specialist. Upon entering this interview, I was acutely aware of my surroundings and the way they made me feel. I had to park my car in a parking garage that is monitored by security, and then I entered a building with controlled access (I couldn’t even go to the restroom beforehand to rinse my hands under cold water to help reduce the sweating!). It was a short walk from the garage to the elevators, and I made sure to slow down my normally fast walking pace so that I wouldn’t generate additional sweat and become out of breath. I notice that my breathing changes during interviews, too. I tend to analyze everything that happens to me.

I arrived at the proper floor and had to be buzzed into the office. I was extra early for this interview since it was snowing that day, so I sat in the waiting area and thumbed through a magazine about the organization. I should say slopped through, as my fingertips were nearly making squeaking noises on the glossy paper as I turned the pages. I had on a long sleeved cardigan, so I used it to wipe off the drip marks as I turned each page. Don’t ask me what the magazine was about. I have no idea. I was too nervous trying to hide my droplets and adapt to the room temperature while I waited. And I swear there was a vent above me blowing hot air. Evil, I tell you.

Long story short, I interviewed with 3 managers. Since this position focused heavily on writing, I was able to showcase the freelance writing I’ve done for the International Hyperhidrosis Society (see those articles here and here) and talk about my blog. I explained what hyperhidrosis was, the Botox experience I had, and how my blog has brought so many great things my way and to my readers based on the feedback I’ve received. They asked for writing samples, too, so I sent them links to my blog, specifically to the To My Readers entry. So, if you’re reading this now and have contacted me personally via the Contact Us form on my blog, have left a comment on my blog, or have posted on my Facebook page, I thank you so very much. Your blog comments were part of what many of the companies I’ve applied to have asked to see specifically. The time you took to post your thoughts is helping me in my job search process.

At the conclusion of this interview, I was given a mini tour of the office, shown where my office would be, and told that they’d like to have me back to meet with a few other members of the team. I took that as a good sign. The next day, Thursday, I went to the last interview I had scheduled for the week. This wasn’t an interview, though. It was another editing test, and those who passed the test would be invited for an interview.

This 4th company told me the pay was significantly less, but I opted to go and take the test anyway to get more experience in the job search process. I felt like an excited fan when I arrived. I was in a publishing house that produced many of the books I’ve read, stuff by authors like Martha Beck, Pema Chodron, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Eckhart Tolle, and Andrew Weil. You can even bring your dog to work at this place! So cool. I would have loved to work here, but I knew going in that it probably wouldn’t work out. I was contacted to return for an interview, but by this point the position had changed to temporary contract work, which really didn’t align with my career goals. I am so grateful for the experience, though. I met some great people, a few furry friends, and got to physically touch layout work that I’ll probably read in book form when it’s published. Love that! I truly respect and admire the work this publishing house does.

Stay tuned to learn whether I was invited for a second interview with any of these organizations.

job-interview-cartoonImage credit Bio Job Blog


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Sweaty Job Interviews (part 2)

My next job interview was for a health education specialist writer position. Looking back at this job title, its basically what I’m doing right now with my blog. Ha! The portfolio I bring with me to interviews contains writing samples from all aspects of my life, both professional and personal. This past year has provided me the opportunity to build more of a medical, personal health condition, and web story repertoire, all of which have led me to apply for jobs I might never have otherwise considered. My life has been unfolding in exactly the way it’s supposed to, a perfect design of the universe. Yes, there have been some really crappy parts to it over the years, but other things have happened that have prepared me for this moment right now, my next sweaty job interview.

Now, you know it’s a good interview when you can quote Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, and you bet I did! They are 2 women who have profoundly influenced my life over the years, and I’m not even that old! I was a very mature child, and I can remember watching Oprah’s 40th birthday special and getting all teary eyed over it (a unique trait of mine as a highly sensitive person). Here’s how I was able to work their words of wisdom into some of my responses to the interview questions.

Since my Botox experience and launch of my blog, I can now list my hyperhidrosis volunteer activism and freelance writing on my resume. As the interviewers were perusing my resume and asking me about my work experience, I was able to explain to them exactly what hyperhidrosis is. They had never heard of it before. Yay for enlightenment! As I was explaining how my blog originated, I said something along the lines of this Oprah quote: “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” I started this blog because I was tired of hiding who I really am and feeling powerless over it. I am now standing in my truth, and if I make a few puddles along the way, who cares? That’s what I do.

I also explained that through my blog I am creating a sense of community for people who sweat and helping them to feel like this is a safe haven. I mentioned the wonderful feedback I’ve gotten from many of you in the form of comments on my blog and personal emails. Thank you for contacting me, too! It’s given me ammunition to use in interviews. I told the interviewers that knowledge creates power, power creates action, action creates awareness, and awareness creates community. The larger the community, the more knowledge we can share, so it becomes a cyclical, never-ending process. Through this community, people can realize what Maya Angelou says, “We are more alike than unalike.”

Now, while I would have liked to have been able to pull these witty sayings out of thin air, I did not. This was an interview for crying out loud! I was nervous. I prepared some notes ahead of time that addressed each bullet point in the job description and gave me points to speak to. The people interviewing me had notes, so why couldn’t I? They are looking for the perfect candidate just as much as I am looking for the perfect job fit for myself. Be prepared. Do your research ahead of time on the company. If you’re lucky, they may even post they types of questions they will ask you on their website under the careers tab.

After the interview was over, I had to take a writing test. Thankfully, they left me alone in the room so I didn’t have anyone watching over my shoulder as I was working on the computer. That is the absolute worst! Want a surefire way to make me sweat? Stand over my shoulder as I’m typing or using the mouse and watch as my computer skills disintegrate into sloppy puddles. Have you seen that infomercial for the EZ Eyes keyboard? I think I might need one of those. There’s a section in the commercial where they pour liquid over it and it doesn’t damage it one bit.

They also asked me what one of my goals in the next 5 years would be. Their website does not have any information available on hyperhidrosis, so I responded that I’d like to beef up their web content with this information. About a week later, they called me for a second interview. This time I met 2 more people, another was on speaker phone, and the original person who interviewed me was there, too. Talk about being in the hot seat! Oh, and I wore a turtleneck sweater to this interview. Bad idea. Bad. By the time I left I was lifting my arms up slightly when I got outside.

In the second interview, I was able to address my 5 year goal and also show them that I’m intrinsically motivated. I created my own hyperhidrosis patient guidelines sheet and matched it to the format they had on their website. They didn’t ask me to do this, but I wanted to show them that I was serious about the job and could create original content that referenced additional resources. They were pretty impressed with it, and I left that day feeling very good about both encounters.

Fast forward to several days later. They called to say that while they really enjoyed meeting me and appreciated everything I put forth to show them who I was, they selected someone else to fill the position who better matched what they needed in the future. Alrighty then. I was running errands when I got the call, so I walked out of the store where it was more quiet to hear this news. I surprised myself by holding it together during the call, and of course didn’t ask if there was something I could’ve done better. I always think of this stuff AFTER I hang up. So then I scrapped the rest of my errands, went home, and cried. And then I cried some more when some of my former coworker friends called to check on me.

However, I did get some blog material out of it. The HH guidelines I think are useful.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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