Job Searching In The Summer Heat


Even as I write this I realize that some people might be in middle of their winters as blogs and posts come from all over our world, and so even if you are wearing your long johns and wooly socks, pity the person looking for employment in temperatures that go beyond hot to unbearably hot.

As I write this today, the weather forecasts are calling for a week of temperatures in the high 20’s and a few of those days, like this past weekend, are approaching the mid thirties. Throw in the humidity, and you’ve got a recipe for a heat wave. In major cities, many declare heat alerts, and cooling centres open their doors. People are advised to seek out libraries, shopping malls, grocery stores – anywhere to cool off.

So I empathize with the woman or man who is job searching on foot trying to keep from sweating and even worse, showing those sweat stains. Prolonged heat can zap a person of their energy, robbing enthusiasm and that bounce in your step. Hair that started off just perfect reflected in the bathroom mirror becomes limp, and could we give a moment of respect for those with curly hair here?

And those that survive the trip to the new employer and sit waiting in Reception; oh how all of us can just imagine that damp, moist hand as the applicant reaches out for what otherwise might have been a real solid first impression. Nothing worse than shaking the employers hand and than watching in horror as they hold it aloft looking left and right for hand sanitizer or a wet wipe. Surely they understand that your handshake is not normally all sweaty and wet? The combination of stress from the upcoming interview and the heat together isn’t a good combination.

And in that interview, as you sit there trying to remain relatively cool and motionless so you don’t sweat more than usual, why is it that at that precise moment; about twelve minutes in to the interview when the ‘let’s just put you at ease questions’ have wrapped up, that a single sweat droplet starts to form at the base of your neck? Oh and if it stopped there that would be fine – you could deal with that. But no, it just hovers, the pore upon which it rests momentarily oozes more salty moisture until the inevitable happens and it starts to descend slowly down the middle of your upper back, gaining speed due to gravity, and you can feel it move with unerring accuracy for the crack in your buttocks. Then the sensation that brings a smile to your face as it tickles its way to the base of your rear. Had you a chair with a back, you might have leaned back to curtail this cascading waterfall, but alas, it did not.

And while this little episode of distraction is going on in front of the interviewer but to whom remain in the dark, you gladly accept a cool drink when offered to ward off further sweat. However, While the liquid remains inside the glass, the outside becomes damp, then wet, then pools of water drip from the bottom as you raise the glass for a drink. Despite your best efforts, all those condensation forming droplets race simultaneously to the bottom of the tumbler, and fall with uncanny accuracy on your blouse or shirt. Now with grace and elegance, you’ve no choice but to wipe that sweaty palm along your chin where you’ve dribbled showing your high-class status that’s bound to go over well in client dinner meetings.

Whatever else the intense heat has in store for you is nothing compared to what you’ve endured up to now, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel…you’ve made it through the interview and survived! Just before heading back out into that intense heat, you make a short stop in the washroom to freshen up. As you look in the mirror, you physically can’t believe what you take in. Then the full gravity of the situation hits you like a punch in a championship prize-fight. There, smack dab in the middle of your face, you stare with absolute terror at the large triangle of white where the sunscreen you applied to your nose before leaving the house has apparently become as stark as a clowns face.

Thankfully you realize that you didn’t actually realize during the interview that your nose was as white as it is, otherwise you’d never have been able to answer all those questions with the scant poise you did muster. ‘Clown’ is the right word you mutter to yourself as you wipe off the greasy sunscreen with the only thing in the washroom; a coarse paper towel that scrapes as you rub.

So after the interview, a comedy of errors by all accounts, you head on home and write that job opportunity off as loves labours lost, and vow to remember this day when the snow is two feet deep and you find yourself longing for the summer heat to return. Just as you toss your sweat-aroma enhanced clothes into the laundry bin, your phone rings. Step into the shower or answer it?

At the end of what may have been both the most embarrassing interview and the hottest day you’ve had as a grown up, you sit down for a quiet moment on the shaded patio, an iced tea and your favourite book, which you find hard this day to get into; you’ve succeeded despite it all and been offered the job!

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