From Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work

Time Out

The present time has one advantage over every other—it is our own.

Charles C. Colton

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.

Martin Rutte

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