A Conversation with the Conceited Executive

By | November 24, 2014

Kool Derby

At times, you are excited about what you do, and you want to tell others about your success. It’s human nature to want to be appreciated, recognized, and valued. However, there are folks who take it too far. They talk so much about themselves and their accomplishments that one wonders if they have grown deaf.

Not long ago, I attended a social at a friend’s home, and at some point I made my way to get a glass of wine. As I stood in line waiting for my turn to order, the gentlemen before me introduced himself. The line was a bit long, and the bartender was a bit slow, which gave us a few minutes to have a chat.

Anthony: I might have to get two drinks! This line is super slow!

Me: Yeah. That’s a good idea.

Anthony: What kind of work do you do?

Me: I teach people to be better at what they do both at the university and in companies. What do you do?

Anthony: I’m sort of new to town. Came here from Boston to accept a position at United Insurance. I’m sure you know about our company, right?

Me: I do. In fact, I have my life insurance through United. The customer service is excellent.

Anthony: Yes. We’ve received quite a few awards. In just the 4 months I’ve been here, my department has become the best in the company.

Me: Wow! How are they measuring the success?

Anthony: My position is Director of Sales for the Group Insurance side of the house. We’ve increased sales by 20% in the past few months, and I’m sure it will get much better.

Me: Your work must be making a difference.

Anthony: I have 450 people working under me. I make tough decisions. If they don’t like how I run things, I will show them the door.

Me: What happened to the other Director of Sales for the department?

Anthony: He was incompetent. He was dumber than a bucket of rocks. I’m told I pretty much saved the department. Without me, the Group Insurance program would be dead in the water.

Me: Dead in the water?

Anthony: Yes. Big time! I have a history of changing things around, never following the status quo. I’m a winner!

Me: I’m sure United is happy you were able to make the move down here to San Antonio.

Anthony: You’re right. I don’t think they deserve me. At $215K per year, I’m underpaid. I expect that number to triple in 12 months. If not, I’m outta here!

Me: I think the bartender is ready for your order.

Anthony: Oh! For waiting so long, I might order three drinks. By the way, it was good talking with you. What was your name?

The conversation took about five minutes, but it felt like an eternity. Anthony talked incessantly, and I kept the conversation going with a few questions here and there. With this type of individual, it’s best not to offer any of your own accomplishments. He is looking to compete, and will have a comeback that looks to downplay the good things about you.

As I made my way back to my friends, I wondered how much of the story Anthony told me was true. If even 50% of it is valid, I can only imagine the employee morale issues that might exist. I only had to put up with Anthony for five minutes on this Saturday evening and not the eight hours per day or 40 hours per week that his employees must endure.

Oh, well. I did order two drinks, which largely reduced the chances that Anthony and I would be in the same line again.

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