My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: freelance article

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

St. Louis Seminar—A Day of Hope and Camaraderie

Here’s another freelance article of mine I wrote for the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s November/December 2011 Sweat Solutions newsletter. You can find the original article here.

 

 

September 24, 2011

55 health care providers convened for a seminar entitled Hyperhidrosis: Best Practices and Emerging Technologies in Contemporary Care in St. Louis, Missouri. Afterward, they treated over 50 patient volunteers who have hyperhidrosis. The atmosphere in the room was not something to be missed.

The St. Louis Gateway Arch was the perfect background for the International Hyperhidrosis Society to conduct its latest CE seminar on treatments for HH. As the leading independent authority on excessive sweating, the IHHS is at the forefront of patient care and public awareness for a condition that affects approximately 3% of the population. On the other side of the arch stand patients who are affected by excessive sweating and are looking for hope and relief. When the IHHS and these patients came together, both were raised to new levels to complete the linking of the arch.

Patient volunteers who attended the seminar received a plethora of product samples from companies who understand and support the message of the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Product samples included Certain Dri® antiperspirant, Summer Soles® shoe inserts, Secret Clinical Strength® antiperspirant, and Qwik Shower® gym class wipes. For a full listing of sweat-friendly products, links to product websites, and discount codes, visit the Deals and Discounts page. The IHHS will host more seminars in 2012, provided that funding is granted. Subscribe to our Sweat Solutions newsletter on the home page to stay abreast of the upcoming educational and patient volunteer opportunities that are so generously provided by our sponsors and grantors.

In addition to the product samples being offered, Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, President and founding member of the IHHS, was on hand to provide an expert perspective. She treats thousands of hyperhidrosis patients each year. Since the state of Missouri has never hosted a hyperhidrosis seminar, this year’s event was incredibly important. Dr. Glaser was thrilled to give physicians a chance to learn more about the therapies available and how they can use them to help their own patients. She was happy to see patients at the St. Louis event who traveled from Florida, Connecticut, and many other states for a chance to receive treatment and get relief. Dr. Glaser would like others to know that there are great hyperhidrosis treatments available, and patients should never be afraid to seek help. There are physicians out there who can treat patients with hyperhidrosis. Do not give up on finding a qualified physician who can help. Visit the IHHS Physician Finder to get a head start on locating doctors in your area. All physicians who have attended an IHHS seminar will have it noted next to their name in the Physician Finder, so you can be confident they have an upper hand in hyperhidrosis knowledge and treatments.

One of the St. Louis patient volunteers, Long Tran, appreciated the opportunity to meet other people who also have HH. He was able to share and discuss the experiences they all have in common. He is appreciative of the opportunity to receive Botox treatment so that he can feel for himself what it’s like to have dry hands. At the end of the day while waiting for his taxi, Long met another patient volunteer and was able to chat with her for a few minutes. Even though it was a short conversation, he (like many of those who have HH) felt like he had known this woman all his life. When asked what he wants others to know regarding hyperhidrosis, Long thoughtfully replied, “People with HH are NOT nervous wrecks, and we do not excessively sweat because we choose to. From what I’ve seen during the event in St. Louis, people with HH are the most considerate, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, brave, attractive, and funny people you will ever meet.”

The St. Louis Gateway Arch, just like the International Hyperhidrosis Society, illuminates a corner of the world that might be under-recognized if one has never heard of it before. The IHHS would like to thank the wonderful city of St. Louis for their hospitality and landmark. It is events like these that bring hope, awareness, and a sense of community to those afflicted with hyperhidrosis and to those who treat or know someone with excessive sweating. Drop by drop, we are on our way to finding a cure and seeing the arch reflected in ourselves in the form of a smile.


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Holiday Greeting Cards: A Tutorial on Recognition

Here’s a freelance article I wrote for The Vegas Valley Savings Magazine, which is mailed to approximately 42,000 households in the Vegas Valley. I wonder if the Sister Wives will see it?

The holidays have arrived, and with them comes the opportunity to make others feel important. I’m not talking about buying gifts to show affection. I’m referring to validating someone by reviving the lost art of letter writing. Yes, the fine art of sending greeting cards to those who matter most, and maybe even giving some to those along the periphery of your life (eg, neighbors, postal carriers, and those lovely people who collect your garbage). The human spirit longs for recognition; we all want to know that we matter, that we are enough simply by being here.  So why not show someone that he or she matters by giving a card? You can make a difference in the world through a simple act.  Expressing gratitude, humility, love, camaraderie, and a myriad of other things to someone via the written word makes it tangible and everlasting for the recipient.  So how does one go about writing a holiday card? Non-writer types can easily do this by following a few tips.

Go through your address book and also think about those whom you encounter in daily life; make a list of these people to whom you’ll be sending a card so that you know how many greeting cards to purchase.

1. Purchase greeting cards or standard 8½ x 11 paper; if you’re hand writing your message you may select other appropriate stationery.

2. Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of writing a card. You can easily create a “blanket” message to insert into each card, and then personalize it for each recipient by hand writing a shorter message inside when you sign the card.

3. Think back to what’s happened in your own life or your family’s lives over the past year. Reminisce month by month if it helps. What interesting things did you do, or receive, or were a part of? Did you take any vacations? Go to an interesting place for a business trip? See any concerts or shows? You can craft a few short sentences together and mention these highlights as a 2011 recap. For next year’s cards, keep a running list of these events throughout the year—your message will be nearly done by the time the holidays arrive, and you can reduce your holiday stress!

4. Try to compose an update that will fit onto one-half of an 8½ x 11 sheet of paper. This is a good length that prevents you from rambling, yet it’s long enough to give the recipient a glimpse into the goings-on of your life. When you initially compose your letter, and if you are using a computer, type it using normal 12-point font for ease of reading and revising. Afterward, you can shrink it to fit on half of the sheet by changing the font size and the font type. I’ve had great results using Gill Sans MT Condensed font, 10 point, 1.5” top & bottom margins, and 2” left & right margins; and Vrinda font, 10 point with 1” margins all around. Once the text fits, copy and paste the same paragraph onto the second half of the sheet so that when you print it you can have 2 copies per page, which you will then cut in half.

5. Decide on what type of paper you’d like to print your message. If it’s darker colored paper such as Christmas or Hanukkah colors, adjust the font in the document to be bold for better readability. Print out a test page and then cut it in half to ensure it will fit inside the greeting cards you’ve selected. Once you confirm the fit, print off the proper number of copies you’ll need (remember, if you purchased a package of 20 cards, you’ll only need to print 10 pages of your message). If you’ve handwritten your message, take it along with the rest of your stationery to an office supply store and ask them to photocopy it onto your stationery.

6. Cut the sheets in half to prepare them for insertion into your cards. If you’re feeling fancy, you can use paper edger scissors (aka scrapbook scissors with fancy detail) to create visually appealing borders. Once you’ve cut the sheets in half, use a glue stick to paste them into the blank side of the card.

7. Take some time to hand write a nice message inside the card to personalize your greeting. It doesn’t have to be long. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012! followed by We enjoyed visiting you over the summer or any other tidbit that acknowledges the individual will suffice.

8. Keep the United States Postal Service in business! Buy those stamps, stick them on the envelopes, and mail a smile.

Maya Angelou once said, “We all have the power to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”  So don’t think that because you’re not a writer you can’t impact another person’s life.  You have the power to do something true and right and great.  Just put your pen to paper (or your fingers to keyboard if you don’t like your handwriting and would rather print from your computer) and say whatever it is that’s in your heart.  Creating a permanent record like this for someone else reminds us that we are connected to each other through our humanity; it reminds us of compassion; it reminds us of the importance of recognition and documentation of our fellow brothers and sisters.  Don’t use spell check or look for bigger words to use.  Just write.  Find your inner Jane Austen and drop a gem into someone else’s day.  The ripple effects will astound you.

(I encourage you to mail a few extra cards to our wounded soldiers who so bravely serve our country. Just think about the impact if every single one of you reading this were to send a few cards! Please do it. Send them here:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

All cards must be postmarked no later than Friday, December 9th. Cards postmarked after this date will unfortunately be returned to the sender. This deadline ensures enough time to sort and distribute cards before the holidays. For more information, visit the Red Cross website.)

2010 Christmas Cards

These are part of the cards I received last year. After this shot was taken, I had to start hanging them on another door since I received so many. 🙂


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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