The Profound Pressure of Job Interviews

By Max Londberg on February 25, 2013

I recently had an interview for an internship. It was one hour predicated on pressure, and I can think of just two things in my life of similar intensity: rowing and my fear of dropping a baby.

This Skype call, though lengthy by interview standards, was still but a hiccup in time. To think that sixty minutes will determine if I spend the summer (well over 100,000 minutes) in a place half a continent away is, well, almost absurd. What’s more, to think that those tiny sixty minutes could potentially change the course of my life (in a butterfly effect sort of way) makes my head spin.

In an attempt to better illustrate the arbitrariness of one hour, I will share some things I’ve done in that time span in the past. These activities haven’t exactly had the resounding reverberations as the interview may have on my life.

Or maybe they have. I’ll let you decide.

1) In the fourth grade, I filled out Valentine’s Day cards for all my classmates. It took forever.
2) The first time I changed the headlight in my car equaled an hour of consternation.
3) One summer in high school, I watched the same episode of SportsCenter that I’d just watched.
4) I took a Geography class, so that translated into twenty hour-long lectures of merciless boredom.
5) I’ve shopped at Walmart for an hour before.
6) I occasionally mowed the lawn for my Momma. I’m allergic to grass, so my eyes and nose would run like Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can.
7) One time, in an hour of weakness, I looked at every picture on Facebook of a girl I was interested in. It petered out after a few dates.
8) I once had an elaborate dream that I was being stalked by a serial killer who turned out to be my best friend. (Dream-time is peculiar, but I’m guessing this horrifying hunt took about an hour.)
9) I watched an episode of Jersey Shore once, which was only a half hour but I’m counting the half hour it took off the end of my life too.
10) I got detention in high school because I let a friend cheat off my paper on a science test. I had to meet the teacher after school and spend an hour dumping out two-liter bottles of “science projects.” (Think a lot of different liquids with varying viscosity filled to the brim of these jugs.)
11) I went to the mall once to go shopping for clothes without a specific item in mind. I never did that again.
12) Last week I made a casserole of ground beef, rice, tomato sauce, chili powder, and a few other things. It was the first casserole I’d ever attempted making. It turned out pretty good.
13) I wrote this blog in my room to the sound of my droning dryer.

Courtesy of Jamiesrabbits and

I find it interesting that of all the hours I’ve lived, 4 p.m. on a Friday in February is the one that could determine the arc of my existence.

Einstein, like a good carpenter, nailed it: Time is downright relative.

Max is a senior journalism student at the University of Oregon. He likes books, astronomy and Kobe's footwork but loves to write. Follow him on Twitter @MaxLondberg

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