I’m sitting in a panel job interview, round two of three, so I’m about 1.5 hours into a nearly 3-hour session with a total of six interviewers. The two phone interviews prior to this one seemed to go well. The first two panel interviewers seemed impressed and genuinely excited by my responses to their questions and the walkthrough they had me perform, but these guys aren’t easy to read. I’m working to monitor my stress response–interviews always make me nervous–while I devote as much of my energy and focus as possible to answering their questions. I CAN do this! I KNOW I can do this!
I receive a question that requires some thought before I’m able to form a response. As I pause to collect my thoughts, I glance out the window between the interviewers and realize that in the skyscraper immediately adjacent to this one, on a floor just about even with the one we’re on, there’s a naked man. At first I see him with his back to the window, standing in front of what looks like a dresser or bar. My brain registers what I’ve seen and I look back to the interviewer to answer the question but then it clicks that what I just saw was A NAKED MAN. My gaze quickly snaps back to the open window to confirm. Yep, there’s a man. Yep, he’s naked. And this time he’s slowly strutting through the room, almost as if to say, “Here I am! Didn’t believe it the first time, huh? Well, get a gooooood *wags bits* look now!”
Is this a test? Should I say something or would that be weird? What’s the appropriate, grown-up, way to announce that there’s a very well-formed naked guy walking around in front of me and I’m having trouble not staring? No, I can’t say anything; I don’t trust myself not to blurt out something awkward. Don’t laugh! Keep talking! Answer the question! Wait, what was the question, again? The silent pause stretches, and stretches, as I try to monitor my reaction and refocus on the question I was asked.
I’m not sure how I kept from giggling, but I did. Even before I found out that I’d landed the job, just managing to collect my thoughts enough to continue with the interview made me feel as though I’d succeeded at something pretty great. Now every time I have a meeting in that conference room I watch for Naked Man.