The invitation was to a targeted audience only and said the doors would open at 10am and would start promptly at 10:30 ending at 11am. The Town Hall meeting, hosted by our CEO, was to take place in the grand Warf room in the glamorous seaside Boston hotel. I RSVP’d immediately and got there at 10:05. I was nervous, big wigs had flown in from NYC and London to speak to me!
I walked in and in a large room to the left, sat four distinguished older men at a reception table.
‘I am here for the meeting’ I pronounced, showing my ID and signing my name on the sheet in front of them. I then turned to find everyone else (it was 10:10) but the hallway was empty. I quickly turned back to the table realizing that I had a pair of gloves clutched in my hand.
‘I apologize, I must have picked up someones mittens when I signed in – do you happen to know. . ’
“Young man, those are sailing gloves. You appear a bit nervous rushing about, pacing and all – why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself ?”
‘Well I work over at Beacon, where I am a conversion
manager for the largest onboarding endeavor in decades’.
Before me, there are only stares of bewilderment.
“Down on the docks, is that so?” the eldest inquires . . .”tough work that is.”
Now my expression is blank.
“Very well, never mind, tell us about your (looking down at the sign in sheet) sllng experience. . . John is it?
‘Yes it is. Well I am quite good at selling myself.’
No humor reaches the table of four.
‘Further, I have repeatedly sold an array of strategic ideas across all lines of business and among multiple tiers of senior management!’
On each word, my inflection rises with pride.
“Son, stop please (holding his hand up) SAILING not Selling. Do you have any SAILING experience?”
‘Sailing? Why that appears a fairly random question.’
“No son, it would be a perfectly appropriate question for the role to be discussed here…”
‘No offense, I just thought it odd coming from a large financial
“We are sufficiently well endowed,yes that is correct.” He says with a pause and an expectant raise of his waiting, bushy white eyebrow.
‘Right, sailing then, like those boats out there with the tall poles sticking up.”(pointing out the vast window overlooking the bay).
“MASTS those are called Masts!” Growls the man, leaning up from his chair as the other three chuckle.
‘I know perfectly well what they are called!’ I respond with a curtness that surprised even me but I was rapidly slipping off this deck and needed to find my footing fast. ‘I grew up sailing from a wee little boy, (leveling my hand below the table) ‘heck I’ve sailed everything: Sunfish, Bluejays, Explorers, WH15’s, 420, 480’s and 510’s. . . you name it!’.
I rattled a little fast and without total accuracy but I was rushed and more than a bit flushed by this odd maritime inquisition. ‘Now please,’ looking at my watch(10:26!!) ‘where is the Town Hall meeting?’
“Oh that!” he leans back, finally chuckling as the others follow him “why son, that is over in the Grand room, across the courtyard. This is a yachting meeting”
I went running out the door and just caught the opening speaker . . . with the sailing gloves still in my hands!
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