He was the president of a major advertising firm and I was a very young management consultant. I had been recommended to him by one of his employees who had seen my work and thought I had something to offer. I was nervous. At that stage in my career, it wasn’t very often that I got to talk to the president of a company.
The appointment was at 10:00 a.m., for one hour. I arrived early.
Promptly at 10, I was ushered into a large and airy room, with furniture upholstered in bright yellow.
He had his shirtsleeves rolled up and a mean look on his face.
“You’ve only got 20 minutes,” he barked.
I sat there, not saying a word.
“I said, you’ve only got 20 minutes.”
Again, not a word.
“Your time’s ticking away. Why aren’t you saying anything?”
“They’re my 20 minutes,” I replied. “I can do whatever I want with them.”
He burst into laughter.
We then spoke for an hour and a half. I got the job.