Tea Pairing with Job Hunting

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The idea for this entry was suggested by my mother, as great ideas often are. It never occurred to me to pair tea with job hunting until she posed the idea after reading my tea-fueled rant. This reflection has – in no way – any science to back it up, just anecdotal “evidence”. Trial and error, hypotheses, and conjectures also played key roles in the missive. Oh, and oolong. Lots and lots of oolong.

Let’s begin.

Getting Started

As an unemployed person, one of the most difficult tasks is literally getting out of bed. Let’s face it, joblessness is depressing. Why does someone want to get started when it feels like their world is ending? The key is a self-fueled kick in the pants.

I’ve personally found that having a morning routine helps to motivate one away from the comfort of a ‘lectric blanky. Getting your day going as if you already have a job puts you in the right frame of mind to look for one. Shaving helps, too (for either gender). And for the love of God, put pants on!

Possible Tea Pairing:

Caffeine is required – lots of it. You need something that’ll give you an extra oomph! My personal recommendation is Assam. Better yet? Assam with some Lapsang Souchong sprinkled in. Nothing says, “Wake the f**k up!” like a caffeinated kick o’ campfire.

Writing a Resume and Cover Letter

If you – fair reader – are anything like me, you hate writing about yourself in a clinical manner. The urge to self-deprecate is a strong one. Same with wanting to sell yourself short. Some have a magical grasp of inflating their accomplishments; I am not one of them. Plus, I’m not very good at summarizing my abilities and accolades (whatever they are) concisely.

The importance is to consult others that have some expertise in these areas – people who’ve either submitted several times, or have a surefire approach. I’ve learned that submitting a resume or cover letter blindly, without having someone looking it over, is like turning in an obituary.

However, you don’t want to be too wired while you’re doing it. I’ve found that these two exercises require a lot of patience, or rather “calm wakefulness”.

Possible Tea Pairing:

I’m taking a page right out of Lindsey Goodwin’s recommendations by saying the best tea for writing is oolong. Sure, it’s caffeinated. And – depending on the sourcing – it can be strong. Yet I feel it truly gives someone a time-released dose of wake-up-call. Enough to instill a sense of focus. I turn to a good oolong – gongfu-ishly-styled – when I’m in the middle of a writing project. And believe me…resumes are a project.

Pounding the Pavement

As much as I hate to admit it, networking is the lifeblood of the job search. Talking to people, keeping your ears open, going from shop-to-shop, doing informational interviews, and putting yourself out there are mandatory. Ever hear that phrase, “It’s who you know…”

I’ll be damned if it ain’t correct.

Possible Tea Pairing:

Anything aged. In my experienced, teas – whether they’re oolongs, pu-erhs, black teas, or whites – that have at least five years on ‘em are eerily soothing. Sometimes they might actually taste as old as they are, but one thing can’t be denied. They make your brain feel like it’s sitting on a park bench feeding pigeons. Even when you’re doing something as socially uncomfortable as talking to people.

Just resist the urge to yell, “Get off my lawn!”

Interview Hell

Congrats! You’ve made it to an actual interview. Someone has taken the time out of their busy schedule to interrogate you for thirty minutes to an hour. But you don’t want to come across as a complete tool. (Unless they’re looking for someone useful.)

There are tips and guides aplenty on how to prepare for an interview. I’ve personally found that dressing to the nines doesn’t hurt your prospects. Where I’ve tended to fail, though, is in the verbal delivery. You don’t want to talk too fast or sound too deliberate. That and you want to have answers to questions prepared – in your mind, anyway. (Note: Do not bring cue cards.)

Some unorthodox methods for confidence and relaxation I’ve heard are: (1) Doing push-ups before an interview. Sound – if odd – advice from my brother. (2) Giving yourself an affirmation speech in the mirror. I do this. (3) Talking to someone before you leave for the interview. I’ve found that parents help. (4) Having a theme song. Okay, I made that last one up. Still, that’d be pretty sweet.

Possible Tea Pairng:

Gotta go green or white here. I made the mistake of having a pint of Earl Grey before an interview. At a tearoom, no less. The result? I was a motormouth, talking a mile a minute. My posture was equally off-putting – hunched over, feet tamping nervously. In other words, the less caffeine, the better. If you want to split the difference – a heartily brewed Bai Mu Dan should do the trick.

Rinse and Repeat

Your day is done. You’ve talked to people, made the rounds, applied for new jobs, and now all you want to do is relax. A cup o’ something herbal will work wonders. Pat yourself on the back…because guess what?

You get to do the whole thing again tomorrow.

Acknowledgements

I’d like to thank my mother for this idea. Do me a favor and like her career advice page on Facebook – Careers/College Not By Chance – HERE. She is an invaluable resource.

Much obliged.

19 Comments

  1. Profile photo of riccaicedo riccaicedo says:

    This tea pairing post was brilliant. Best of luck with your job hunting.

  2. Thanks, I’ve been keeping my ears, eyes, and nose open. :-)

  3. Profile photo of thedevotea thedevotea says:

    I am ashamed not to have thought of it first. I write millions of words on tea plus career advice for a national newspaper here.
    I shall pair my despair over this with an IKEA blueberry vanilla. As a punishment.

    1. First off…I didn’t know IKEA had tea blends. Color me surprised. I’ll bet it’s as cheap and lovely looking (and prone to breaking) as their furniture.

      Second, what’s stopping you from posting a similar topic. If anything, you’d have a far better perspective on the subject than I would, given your experience and wealth of knowledge in the field.

      Third, this was my Mom’s idea. So, direct your envy at her. ;-P

      1. Profile photo of thedevotea thedevotea says:

        They have at least two. And they are odd.

        1. Not dissuading me. I like odd.

          1. Profile photo of jackie jackie says:

            I can’t see them anywhere on their IKEA site but I did find a couple of (poor) reviews and some pictures. Here’s one:
            Ikea tea
            I also didn’t know that they have teas. News to me too.

          2. That looks scarier than I thought. Love the French press, though.

          3. Profile photo of bram bram says:

            Hmmm, “Blabarssmak” sounds like “blubbersmaak” which is Dutch for “Mud taste”…

        2. Profile photo of bram bram says:

          IKEA teas? You open the package, make tea and when you are almost finished you discover that the tea is missing?

          And you do not know where that leftover stuff is for…

          1. Oh…I thought it was a matter of buying the tea and finding that it breaks.

  4. Profile photo of jackie jackie says:

    Ikea teas aside, I thought this was a great post, with some solid advice. If you’re going for a tea job, and you feel “Motor-Mouth Syndrome” coming on, I’d tell the interviewer openly, that you’ve just guzzled a ton of tea and that it tends to affect you during interviews.
    Another disadvantage of high consumption is, that you may be asking for the restroom in the middle of the tricky question: “What are your weaknesses?” Although “My bladder.” might be quite a good answer. “My incontinence.” however, would not.
    As to the push-ups, wouldn’t they make you all sweaty and flushed, requiring more personal hygiene than originally planned?
    Finally; re mom. I’d “like” her because I already like her, but I don’t use fb. Clever lady though, not that I’m surprised.

    1. Well, it was much worse at the tearoom interview because they offered me tea. And this was right after I’d arrived early…and had a pot of something black. So, I was double-hopped during the interview. Actually, this happened two times…so clearly I didn’t learn my lesson the first.

      I, personally, haven’t done the push-ups technique…but after three failed interviews in a row, I’m gonna on the next one.

  5. Profile photo of xavier xavier says:

    Nice post with some interesting theories and mixes.

    I wish you all the best in your job hunting.

  6. Yep, this is all anecdotal.

    And thanks. :-)

  7. Margo Hutchinson says:

    This is really good! and you got some well wishers!
    Hope you have a productive job search week. Being out and about, helps your point of view.

    1. Well, it was thanks to your brilliant idear. :-)

  8. Profile photo of bram bram says:

    Good luck. You did find something since this post didn’t you?

    1. I did, indeed. Something I shouldn’t be good at.

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