A Million Dollar Question
A certain high level executive in my industry asked me a question today while he was in mentoring mode that for the life of me, I could not answer seriously. The problem is that this individual is known for not possessing any shred of a sense of humor and no tolerance for levity during work hours. During meetings, he acknowledges your presence not by saying “Hello” but by saying, “You have 30 minutes to convince me of ________”. His way of saying good-bye is, “Your time is up.” If the meeting goes well, he will publicly question your competence and your mother’s sexual history. If it goes bad, he will have a couple of security goons remove you from the conference room and beat your ass in the lobby, get some old hag from the mail room stomp your personal effects to smithereens in the parking lot and order a couple of scullery apes from the cafeteria to key your car.
In addition to having a savage management style, the man is extremely intelligent and very powerful. As a result he is either highly respected or deeply feared, depending upon what rung you occupy on the corporate ladder. The rung I sit on is just low enough for the man to scare the living shit out of me. He can have me fired with a phone call and with a couple of well-placed letters, ensure that I never work in the industry again.
Anyway, today he asked me a serious question and he expected a serious answer. I came up with three replies almost instantly, but lack the intestinal fortitude to say any of them. The question was, “How do you wish to be remembered?”
My first thought was, “As the guy who came to work buck naked after winning a 300 million dollar jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery.”
My second was, “As the guy who pulled up to the main gate of the American embassy in Karachi, Pakistan behind the wheel of an old Mini Cooper and told the gate guard, ‘Yo! Sergeant! If you’ve got twenty-five million dollars I’ve got most of Osama bin Laden stuffed in the trunk!’”
My third was, “As the guy who had to hold a national press conference to tell the public that despite the videos circulating around the internet that made me an indisputable candidate, DNA testing has confirmed that I am not the father of Paris Hilton’s love child”.
In the end however, I woosed out and mumbled some barely intelligible utterance about being a mentor, blah, blah blah. Truth be told I do not really remember what I said. Luckily, this executive’s English is not all that great and he probably did not understand me anyway. I consider myself fortunate that he also has no clue that, though I am by no means fluent, I can passably converse in his native tongue.
So, how would you like to be remembered? Let me know so that I can shamelessly plagiarize you the next time I need a serious answer to that question.