The Big Sweat
Dear J.T. & Dale:
I got a job right out of school, over a year ago, and recently learned that our company will be closing this division.
I’ve started looking for a new job and have had several interviews, but no follow-up.
I believe it’s because I get extremely nervous, and start sweating heavily. (My hands and face get wet.)
Dale: JT has convinced me to tell you about an odd episode in my career. I hope it helps….
I give a couple of speeches a month, talking about leadership and/or creativity.
A while back I was doing a seminar for a few hundred people and, as always, I was working hard, suitcoat off and sleeves rolled up, moving about the audience, involving people, trying to give away all the energy I have.
We took a break and one of the participants came up to me and said, “You material is great. I only wish the others at my table were paying attention to the content -- all they can talk about is your bolognas.”
My WHAT? He explained: “Yeah, that’s what we call the sweat marks under your arms. They’re about the size of bologna slices.” Great.
Naturally, I thought it was ridiculous to be discussing bolognas when I had important concepts to convey, but if it was distracting the audience, I had to (sigh) deal with it. So I started asking around.
I heard about prescription drugs to prevent nerves – but that wasn’t my problem. And I heard about underarm pads with the discouraging name “dress shields” -- and several other bad ideas.
Eventually, I stopped wearing light-color shirts and started wearing either white or black shirts, or something with a stripe. Problem solved. It is, as I tried to tell JT, a simpler problem than yours, Kyle.
JT: Yes, but it’s helpful because it shows how people notice everything, and how easy it is to get caught up in their distractions. And while Kyle’s case is nerves, and there are medical solutions, I hope he won’t resort to those. I had one client with the same problem. I gave him a list of possible interview questions and had him work on his answers, all of which focused on his experience and accomplishments. Then we did practice interviews. Belong long he lost his fear of interviews, and his nerves and perspiration evaporated.
Dale: I hope that’s your solution, Kyle. If not, those of us who do a bit of manly sweating must stick together. If it happens again, you just say to the interviewer, “I get pumped up just talking about the possibilities,” and take out a handkerchief and mop the brow. They’ll say something like, “My uncle is the same way,” and you’ll be past the distraction. It’s only embarrassing if you decide it’s so, and let’s agree, you and me, that it isn’t.
Dear J.T. & Dale:
My husband and I plan to move to Hawaii in a few years. We will not be able to retire for a few years after arriving, so we want to find good employment there. How do we start?
JT: You can do plenty now to make a remote job search easy and effective.
Start with the local Chamber of Commerce. If say, you want to move to the Big Island, you’d go to the Kona-Kohala website, kona-kohala.com, and find a section on relocating there.
They even offer a relocation kit (for $20). For now, I’d subscribe to the “Honolulu Advertiser”
and start reading not only the job ads but learning about employers and the business climate.
Dale: I assume you’ll be vacationing there in the meantime, and you can use those trips to meet people in your professions, perhaps by attending local business/professional associations.
You might even get a job offer that will accelerate your plans.
JT: If not, as you get closer to moving, you can plan a job search trip, using the Chamber’s membership directory, your website research of companies mentioned in the newspaper, and your connections through professional associations to fill up your calendar. Your goal is to let everyone know you’re coming, ready to work.
Copyright © 2007, King Features
Popular Past Columns