Meeting one of the tallest men in IT

There are not a lot of people that I would classify as personal heroes. Those that I would classify with hero-status include: my Dad, Tom Landry, John Wayne, and of course being from Texas, Roger Staubach. But I had the opportunity to meet one the most iconic figures in the IT industry a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to land an interview with Perot Systems. But, I was well over 20 minutes late to an hour-long interview.

 

Factoid: Ross Perot started the Perot System as a non-profit company to help the US Post Office. 

 

While running into the building, I literally ran into the man that invented the IT industry. I realized that I am about a foot taller and easily 100 pounds heavier than the man I was about to explode into. I had just enough time to slow down so I could recognize my target as Mr. Perot. To this day, I still don’t know who dodged who.

 

r.jpgAs quickly as the collision was averted, the 70 something year-old reached out to shake my hand. “Hi my name Ross Perot”. Just as quickly, I retorted the very professional response, “Hi Mr. Perot my name is Michael Deady it’s nice to meet you”. Instead of stopping there I continued with, “I am so sorry, I’m really running late to an interview”.

 

For some reason, I went ahead with the interview. However in full disclosure, I started the conversation by stating that they may want to rethink interviewing me for any position at Perot System. I then filled them in on what just transpired (generic version). I am pretty sure they laughed for a couple of weeks, but they still offered me the job for some reason. I personally thought they needed a fall guy, but I needed a job, so I was willing to fall for them. However I do believe they put me in an office with a door, so they could hide me if needed.

 

Factoid: When Soviet Union began auctioning off most of the Space Programs memorabilia, Ross Perot stepped in bought it all to hold in-trust for the Russian People.       

    

The importance of identity

 

I would like to say the story ends there, but after joining Perot Systems my HR paperwork got messed up. Because my initials are MDD, my manager put in the comments section that my nickname was “Doc”. Somehow this nickname transposed onto my Company ID instead of my given name of Michael.

 

Several months later I was walking down the halls of Perot Systems, when I hear a high pitch voice state, “I thought your name was Michael”. I very slowly turn around hoping to wake up from this nightmare. I knew that very security-minded Mr. Perot might fire me on the spot for presumably lying about my identity.

 

I don’t know how long we stood there while I attempted to explain the name change without implicating my team or manager. This man had advised world leaders, and thumbed his nose at others, was forced to listen to me babble about my nickname. I am sure I sounded like Elmer Fudd reciting the Magna Carta (at which time he owned). As I stumbled my way to the end to what I thought was my career, Mr. Perot simply said, “I’ll just call you by your given name of Michael, if that is alright with you” and smiled.

 

mw.jpgJust a note: when I finally meet HP’s CEO Meg Whitman, she can call me whatever she likes.

 

I would like to hear about those moments in your life that could or did change your career path? Next week, I'll continue the blog labeled "Testing Evolution Series"

 

 

Thanks

Doc/Michael 

 

FYI: I later learned that he was late to a meeting. I can only hope it wasn’t because of me.

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Labels: career| fun| funny| hr| leader| story
Comments
Denise Tschoepe(anon) | ‎08-30-2012 12:30 PM

 Great story, you never told me this story in person so I am glad I got to read it now.  I am always impressed with all you do, surprised sometimes.  My baby brother has come a long way and I am proud of him.

Big Sis

Denise 

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About the Author
Michael Deady is a Pr. Consultant & Solution Architect for HP Professional Service and HP's ALM Evangelist for IT Experts Community. He spec...


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