I recently read some articles on job interviews and body language.
They terrified me.
Right there in the list of top ten mistakes people make with body language when interviewing for a job were fidgeting and the crossing of one’s arms and legs.
I always worry about fidgeting and crossing my arms and legs.
I worry about this anytime I’m sitting, whether I am watching tv or interviewing for something or even when simply having a discussion with someone I don’t know well.
You see, I have an invisible illness.
I have a weird medical condition that causes my blood to pool abnormally which lowers my blood pressure and raises my heart rate and often results in me passing out. One easy way to prevent this is to make sure that I move my legs and arms and alternate between keeping them crossed and uncrossed. But fidgeting and crossing are viewed as signs that the person isn’t paying attention. It is considered rude. But it also tends to look bad if a person passes out halfway through the interview (especially if, say, you fainted and crashed into the person running the interview and the person you crashed into was petite and your unconscious body caused their small and surprised body to slam into the floor with you… fortunately that scenario has only happened to me while meeting new doctors or new people and once a new customer but not yet a potential employer).
This can of course be avoided if you state outright, at the beginning, that you have a medical condition and that you have to choose between fidgeting and appearing rude or fainting, but then there is the issue of them maybe not wanting to hire someone who faints all the time. I know that technically it is illegal for them to specifically not hire someone because of their disability, but at the same time if there are many qualified candidates the company will generally choose the one that doesn’t faint. I don’t suppose I can even blame them for that.
Right now I’m not interviewing for jobs. I have too many hospital appointments at the moment. But I do intend to get mostly better. I intend to get my symptoms back under control and finish my last year of college and, yes, get a job.
I’m so scared. I’m scared that no one will want to hire the fainting engineer. I could be a safety hazard! But what can I do? My condition does not currently have a cure, although it does have a few treatment and management plans. I might progress to the point where I can actually function in normal society again. I might be perfectly capable of performing the job I apply for despite the occasional fainting spell. I might not get the chance to work said job because I told my interviewer that I have a medical condition that causes fainting if I don’t move my legs around. I might not get the chance to work because I didn’t explain my fidgeting and the interviewer thought I was overly nervous or even rude. I might make sure that I don’t fidget so I don’t have to explain only to wake up on the floor again after fainting. I’d have to explain then. Or I could get through the interview without saying anything, without fidgeting too much and without fainting, get the job, then faint in front of people resulting in me losing the job. Yes, technically illegal, but it has happened a lot to the people in my POTS support group, whether they worked as an emergency room nurse, an accounting firm or as a sales person.
And that doesn’t even go into the issues a normal non-fainty person experiences when looking for a job and with the interview process. I will have to deal with those too.
Sigh. Maybe I should stick to art.