My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: taking tests

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

Discovering I Had HH, Part 1

I can’t remember ever not sweating. As early as 3rd grade was when I became acutely aware that I had wet hands and other kids didn’t. In math class, the teacher would do timed multiplication tests. The first student to stand up from his or her desk was the winner. While I usually won (yes, in my early days I was a math genius), my paper would be smeared, damp, and the edges would curl up. In that same year, we learned cursive writing. Those Big Chief tablets that had red and blue lines on them were never a good match for my hands. The paper simply tore too easily underneath the damp, flat side of my palm. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom had to buy me pants more often than an average child, since I constantly was wiping my palms on them and wearing out the fabric.

In 5th grade, I finally complained enough to my mom that my hands were always so gross that she took me to the doctor. The term hyperhidrosis was never mentioned, I was prescribed Drysol (a prescription strength antiperspirant), and sent on my merry way to rejoin the P.E. class where, oh joy, we were learning how to square dance. While it was slightly easier to conceal my sweaty hands during this particular unit of P.E., if the teacher caught us pretending to hold hands by osmosis, we had to immediately clasp hands and endure the cooties while we were supervised for the next few minutes. Don’t even ask me about Red Rover. My team always lost because my grip was so easy to break through.

The ways in which I masked my HH were always evolving, as the older and more involved in school I became, more “trigger situations” likely were to arise. I never joined band. How could I hold an instrument? I’d probably ruin it and cause it to rust if it were a brass instrument. So I chose choir where I could more easily blend in with the crowd. The only sport I played was track and field. I ran the 100M & 300M hurdles and the 4x200M relay. With the relay, the baton was long enough that I could grip the very end and not transfer my sweat during the handoff to my teammates. During homecoming and prom, I constantly was worrying about ruining my dress and my wrist corsage. Dress clothes are a trigger for me, so I was most comfortable sitting down so I could hold a dinner napkin or just borrow the tablecloth for a quick mop-up.

And then came college. And the required speech class. (Insert march of death music.)


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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