Rob Taylor: ‘Bustin’ out my new CEO war cry’
February 25, 2008
I thought I had a normal friend once, until he told me that his favorite movie was “Saw.”
Now, I watch my back, suddenly concerned about his consumption of caffeinated beverages and collection of pocketknives. In a perfect world, he would come with a warning label, cautioning the general public as Teddy Roosevelt once did: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but is it humanly impossible to abstain from jumping to conclusions about people and their movie endorsements?
For instance: Several latitudes north of Colorado, a newly-hired CEO of a company that employs over 1,000 people in the Midwest sat down for a “Get to Know the Big Cheese” interview for the company magazine. When asked what his favorite movie was (presumably to demonstrate that he is just a normal guy, albeit wise), he answered, “Weekend at Bernie’s 2.”
His minions were flabbergasted, trying to make sense of it all in the hallways.
“What? How can anyone pull down six digits with ‘Weekend at Bernie’s 2?'”
“I know. They grilled me at my interview. They even wanted to know how many minutes a day I spent on the john.”
“He should have copped to ’12 O’clock High’ or a Clint Eastwood flick.”
Yet somehow, between mouthfuls of popcorn, the most powerful man in the multimillion-dollar company found inspiration in this flick – about dressing up a cadaver, dragging him around and passing him off as one of the living.
Is “Weekend at Bernie’s 2” the key to climbing the corporate ladder?
Time to rethink everything you think you know.
My co-workers did more damage to my theory – that you can size up a person by his favorite movie – than a U.S. President could do with a single, four-year “mandate.” The place was crawling with Titanic, Trekkies and Steel Magnolias fanatics, but this is true of offices across America.
It’s “the others” that make for interesting conversation.
The higher up the food chain you went, the weirder it got. The CEO’s interviewer was one of the brightest, most articulate women I have ever known. Her favorite movie: “Dumb and Dumber.”
My first supervisor was obsessed with “Pulp Fiction,” a disturbing film (for me) and my second boss – an intelligent lad – is the preeminent “Dukes of Hazzard” scholar of our time.
My middle management dreams never materialized with that corporation, hitting a brick wall after one minor promotion.
Why? It wasn’t because I didn’t dress the part, and my mantra was solid: “Even a fool shows wisdom when he shuts his mouth” (taken from Proverbs). The obvious reason: My favorite movie, the true litmus test, is “Forrest Gump” – way too mainstream for this company.
If only I had the savvy to hang a couple of “Beverly Hillbillies” posters in my cubicle.
“Weekend at Bernie’s 2” changed everything. The CEO has inspired me to bring my “A-game” to my next interview: To confess my 30-year fascination with Scooby-Doo. I can’t explain it, but perhaps that’s the point, to fixate on the elementary or bizarre.
If pressed, I could defend it, saying, “Some guys dabble with Botox and hair dyes, but my Fountain of Youth is Scooby Doo. How else can you explain the urge to slam down Fruit Loops Saturday-morning-kid style while watching?”
Next time, I’ll be ready, ready to pounce on the hard questions:
“Why should we hire you?”
“What unique quality sets you apart from the rest of the candidates?”
“Who is your mentor or inspiration?”
They won’t know what hit them when I belt out my new CEO war cry ” the “Scooby Doo” theme song.
Join the army of “If Guys Could Talk” informants: E-mail the good dirt to email@example.com
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