I’ve been looking for a new job for a while, I’m a secretary at a dental supply company. It pays the bills, but I don’t feel like it will ever lead to anything better. You’d think with an associate degree in business logistics I could at least get an entry level position with some growth potential. But sometimes I think nobody can see past my looks. Not to be vain, but yeah, I’m pretty. It’s not like they’re making me work in the nude or anything, it’s just, I’ve got a brain here too you know? Well anyway, I was excited when I finally got a call back from a big IT company, Priarus. And the Junior Sales Analyst position sounds like just the kind of thing I’m looking for too. So it turns out the last analyst died or something and they wanted a replacement as soon as possible. They asked if I could interview that evening. As luck would have, I’d just got home from work. The manager was “sick” again and suggested we close up early. I wasn’t looking forward to going out in this unseasonably cold weather again, but when opportunity knocks you answer.
About half an hour later I pull into the Priarus parking lot. The snow has stopped but the wind is still biting. I wrap my jacket tight and head in. The lobby is impressive, modern but classy, lots of wood and glass. But what really struck me was the receptionist. She stood behind a wide glass counter, completely naked, not even shoes on. “Hi, you must be Rachael. I’m Gwen.”, she said in a polite but vaguely flirtatious tone, “Mr. Gevelinger is finishing up a teleconference. You can use lounge through there to get ready for him. It’ll be 15 minutes or so. Have fun!”
Now I’m already caught off guard by the weirdly chipper naked receptionist, but what I see in the lounge really throws me for a loop. Oh it’s nice enough, comfy chairs, single-serving coffee machine, even a selection of snacks, apparently free, but prominently positioned on the opposite wall are a set of lockers with a hand-printed sign over them: “Please leave your clothes here.” So what, I’m supposed to interview naked? This doesn’t bode well. But you have to understand this job is just what I’ve been looking for, even the starting pay is more than I make now and the long term prospects are clearly better. I’d heard these tech companies have some funny hiring practices, maybe they’re just trying to encourage applicants to open up—no I didn’t quite believe that myself, but I’d come this far so I resolved to go through with it. Following the receptionist’s example I disrobed completely and put my shoes and everything in first empty locker.
I was just about to make myself a cup of coffee to try and calm down when a tone, and then a voice came over the intercom, obviously an older male. “Rachael? Sorry about the wait, I’ll see you now. If you’re on the lounge, you can take the elevator right in there up to the 4th floor. My office is at the end of the hall.” I wasn’t sure how the intercom worked, so I didn’t try answer, I just did as he said and got in the elevator. Have you ever got in an elevator naked? It’s weird. It’s closed, private, but you have no idea what you’re going to see, and who will see you, when that door opens. Well, it was an empty hall in this case. Or maybe “deserted hall” captures the feeling better, I’m starting to realize almost everyone has gone home already. While I don’t want to be seen, it’s just spooky and doesn’t relax me one bit.
Well here goes. I make my way to the end of the hall. I couldn’t tell you how long it took. It’s a blur at this point. What am I doing? I do remember the large name plate on the door though, “Mr. Gevelinger, President East Division”. I knock, I’m invite in. And there he is. He looks distinguished but comfortable in what I assume is a rather expensive suit. And there I am, naked. But as he invites me to sit, something about his manner puts me at ease. He seems approachable, friendly even, and maybe… surprised? It’s my looks I suppose, I don’t usually get such a strong reaction, but then I’m not usually naked when I meet people.
“I didn’t see anything on your resume about permanent nudity. I like that, not using it to get ahead. I assure you we do believe you’re qualified for this position.” Alarm bells are ringing in the back of my mind. He should know I would be naked… is he implying I’ll have to register? I never agreed to that, aren’t they supposed to tell you up front? Maybe I missed it… But as these thoughts go through my head, he continues. “We do have a few other permanently naked employees, so that’s certainly not a problem. Oh, of course you’ve already met Gwen. She’s rather enthusiastic about it too. I suppose she showed you where you can store your cold weather gear. So with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.”
And that’s when my brain finally catches up with what the hell just happened. He’s still talking, but I can’t focus on what he’s saying anymore. Those lockers were for people who really are permanently naked! I was never supposed to undress. All the embarrassment I tried to suppress by telling myself this was normal snapped back. I’m sitting here like a deer in the headlights, naked in a strange man’s office. And the fact that he doesn’t yet realize this is a problem just makes it weirder. I have no idea what to do. Should I admit my mistake and get dressed? Just excuse myself and get out of here? Or would be less embarrassing to play along and finish my naked interview?
Photo submitted by Sisyphe72.