The other night I had the most tremendously painful nightmare. I was suddenly hired back at a girls' summer camp in upstate New York that I had worked at in the summer of 2001 teaching horseback riding. I was so looking forward to another summer of riding horses all day, every day! But then I was told that I would not be teaching riding because I was hired at the last minute and all the riding instructor spots were filled. Instead, I would be teaching public speaking.
For me, public speaking is the quickest route to a complete out-of-body experience. I once had to introduce myself at a career networking event at UNC and talk about the event planning job I loved for ten teeny, tiny seconds, but mostly I remember blacking out after babbling about the giant ribbon-cutting scissors and how totally awesome they were.
I also equate public speaking with interviewing for a job. You're put on the spot and expected to simultaneously think and speak coherently. I don't do either of these things in real life anyway, and certainly not at the same time, so sitting down to be interviewed generally leads to a sweaty, red-faced, dry-mouthed, nervous meltdown.
I can't put a thought together.
I draw blanks.
To break the ice, I try to be funny, but end up telling horrible jokes that even I would otherwise find offensive.
No one laughs at said jokes except me.
When it dawns on me that things aren't going well, I become totally desperate, so I beg for mercy, and make empty promises laced with sappy sentiments.
Once, the pressure was so intense I actually popped a blood vessel in my eye in the middle of an interview.
Derrick is a champion interviewee and has tried to coach me. And he has failed.
Luckily for me, my current boss has similarly spastic tendencies.