I did something different at the job interview I had this morning — and no it wasn’t that I got there with time to spare (for once). Nah, what I did is going to sound inconsequential to those who don’t know me, but to those closest to me or at least aware of my history it might raise an appreciative eyebrow and/or maybe inspire a “Whoa!”
After introducing myself and shaking hands with the division president whose 10th floor corner office has a view to the east of seemingly everything this side of the Continental Divide, I sat down at his desk.
Then I took my sunglasses off. Put them in my pocket.
Like I said such an act will mean nothing to most — a no-brainer that might provoke a “who the hell would wear sunglasses for a formal interview?”
Normally that who would be me, but I won’t go in gory depth or detail as to why other than to say that to this day I can be very conscientious of the damage my right eye sustained in a motorcycle accident 13 years ago last month. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive — or at least not to the same degree as I did back in 1994 — but I am. That my crutch consists of glass and metal where it could easily consist of a glass and vodka is something I will always consider more than a little victory.
Not that there hasn’t been improvement. Early on after the accident I wore superdark lenses — day and night. Even carried a back-up pair in case I lost them. Then I began lightening them until this last pair I bought in 2001, whose tint frankly is hardly any good in direct sunlight. But it is a tint nonetheless and for better or worse I’ve been not leaving home without them to go wherever I might be directly or indirectly among strangers.
On the elevator ride up to the division president’s office I straightened my tie and stood confidant of the assets I could bring to the position and it dawned on me that I had nothing to hide. And as I thought that, a small shiver ran up the back of my neck at the crazy idea of stepping from behind the psychological protection afforded by my shields.
Honestly, it surprised me when I did just that a few minutes later in his 10th floor office with the killer vista. Was it indicative of how immediately comfortable I felt in the surroundings? Maybe. But I didn’t really think about it, I just pulled them off and put them in my pocket. It’s open to debate whether me taking off my shades helped me this morning or leaving them on has been a hindrance in past interviews. But as successful and productive as I think the interview went, I’m all the more proud for having the courage — and it is courage — to eliminate them as a potential distraction and to openly face the man who may very well be my next boss.
Sure, I put them back on when I left the building. But it was bright outside.