In the spirit of these economic times, let me tell you a story about conferences and congruence.
Thirty-odd years ago, I’m walking in Manhattan with a long-time friend. A piece of paper blows by. My friend grabs it up, hands it to me and says, “Keep this. It’s really valuable.”
I look at it – it’s a hotel map – the kind they give you so you can find where conference rooms are.
“What good is this?” I ask.
“It tells you where everything is. I’ll show you,” he says, dragging me into the nearest large hotel – right through the nearest “employee only” door. We start walking through conference rooms, ballrooms, storerooms, kitchens. He walks up to some kitchen staff.
“Put less dressing on those salads. We’re trying to save money,” he tells a worker.
Nobody questions us at all.
“When I was between jobs, I’d go into hotel conferences, sit down at a table and start eating. If somebody came by and asked why I was there, I’d say, ‘isn’t this the locksmith’s convention?’ They’d say, ‘no, that’s across the hall.’
I’d apologize, cross the hall and sit down and eat THERE. I did this so often that the staff recognized me and brought me extra food. The rest of the attendees asked each other who I was that I got extra food. A smart person can never starve in America.”
By the way, this guy was a stockbroker, and had more money than God.