My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: sweaty job interviews

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.

Getting the Job I Wanted

When I got back home from visiting my grandma, I met with my friend who had created the vision statement for me. She helped me create a quadrant of pros and cons for the two jobs that were now potentially on my plate. The four sections were Big Yes, Big No, Little Yes, and Little No. She asked me several questions about both jobs that helped me to fill in each section. Once we were done, she said I had my answer to which job I really wanted, which isn’t to say that the first job I had already accepted wasn’t what I wanted. They were both good positions that were a good fit for me.

 

Then my friend said something really profound. “Why don’t you just call the second employer, Maria?” Wait, WHAT? Me? Call THEM? It never even occurred to me that I could take charge with an employer and actually fight for what I wanted as their job candidate. By calling them, I could take my worrying out of the equation. I could do everything in my power to create the result I wanted. So, we walked through what I should say when I called, and I went straight home to get the phone call out of the way. So, with sweaty hands and a wobbly voice, I left a voice mail saying I certainly didn’t want to be presumptuous, but that I was wondering if an offer was forthcoming as I had been offered another position.

 

This pro-activeness on my part got the ball rolling a bit faster on their end. It also allowed me to relax and feel like I had done all I could. Oh! I forgot to mention the part that happened before this. The day after I got home, I was sitting in church and noticed a woman a few rows in front of me who looked very familiar. I basically stalked her for the rest of the service, and when she left a few minutes early I hightailed it out of the sanctuary to follow her. She had disappeared! I decided to walk to the front entrance of the church and wait for a few minutes. Next thing I know, she’s right next to me with her son. So I stopped her and said hello. I then told her that she had interviewed me several days ago and that they were doing a reference check on me for the position. She replied that they all really liked me and that she especially enjoyed the writing samples I had provided as part of the application process. Isn’t it crazy how God works?! I don’t usually talk to “strangers”, but I couldn’t stop thinking about making contact with her once I saw her in church that day. It was a good reminder for her to see my face again.

 

So, after seeing one of the people who interviewed me at church and then making the phone call asking for what I wanted, the next day my phone rang. On the other end was the woman who would be my supervisor. She said that when she was speaking with my references, her heart was breaking when they told her about my layoff. My former boss told her that I was on the verge of a promotion and that laying me off was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do. Well, it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through as well. Another of my references spoke to how I deal with failure and adversity. She used the specific example of when I was lucky number 13 on the list of only 12 who would be accepted into the Aspen Summer Words Memoir Writing Program. (I still need to blog about that, by the way.)

 

After we got all that out of the way, she offered me the job! Hallelujah and hot damn! Shockingly, I held my sh** together during this phone call. I kind of felt like crying, but I was outside facing the mountains and it was like the sky just opened up and the sunlight poured over me. The outcome I wanted was unfolding right before my eyes. I really took charge of my life over the past few weeks and felt comfortable with how I had performed in my interviews. The amped up level of my hyperhidrosis in all of those interviews was something I dealt with in the moment, but on this awesome job offer day, I was outside in the cool breeze looking west and NOT sweating.

 

I hung up the phone with a huge grin on my face, and if I didn’t care what other people thought of me half as much as I usually do, I totally would have gone to my car while sporting a John Travolta Saturday Night Fever walk. Because that is seriously the song that popped into my head when I hung up.

 

I’d like to thank every one of you for being so supportive and encouraging, and for reminding me of what I have to offer the world when there were days when I truly thought I had nothing left. A special thanks to my parents and siblings, my Young Marrieds and tea committee peeps at church for praying for me, my closest friends (you all know who you are), and to my awesome husband. He has been amazing through these last few months, picking up the additional financial responsibilities with grace and love, and telling me numerous times not to freak out (because I NEVER do that).

 

If you’re facing adversity in your life, keep fighting the good fight. Nothing lasts forever. Well, except maybe hyperhidrosis, but even that shouldn’t stop you from creating the life you want. Never stop believing in yourself. I still struggle with this, but every day I make an effort to remind myself that I am enough. So are you.

 

Here’s to stayin’ alive!


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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