Since reading Requiem for the May Company over the holiday weekend, I have been more mindful of my particular time with that now defunct organization that could simultaneously illicit both consternation over how clients and staff were occasionally treated and fond memories of good work done by good people. I’m remembering the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend back in 2004.
Project Directors and consultants in the May Company's world were a special breed of road warrior [aka Frequent Flier], instantly recognizable to one another in any mid-size to large airport in North America or Hawai'i. This elite team flew hither and yon about the U.S. and Canada to begin and maintain multiple consulting projects, simultaneously. On the client's nickel, of course.
Burdened with a laptop and a full week's clothing crammed into something just larger than an overnight bag, frequently found standing at the car rental counter, we were immediately recognizable, wearing the firm's trademark travel attire: dark suit with dress shirt and tie. It stands out a bit at Honolulu International Airport. I have stories.
As a consultant from the company office in Las Vegas, I was “on loan” to the company’s Chicago Headquarters. I was to report a Senior Executive, called a SenEx.
My Project Director and I had just closed a one-day project in northwest Mississippi with an extraordinarily well-run aircraft service and repair firm that really didn't need us. My Project Director had been ordered to Chicago to await what he called his Tuesday morning "ass-whoopin’ at the Ridge.” He had, after all, just led three consecutive projects that closed the same day they opened. The nice folks in Park Ridge took an exceedingly dim view of Project Directors who were unable to keep the hourly billing-meter running as long as there was still a modicum of working capital left in the client’s bank account.
For my part, I was told to drive on to down to Jackson where the travel department would arrange for me to fly from Mississippi to California, presumably. As the afternoon passed, it started raining progressively harder and the countryside took on a deep green dreariness with intermittent lightning bolts all around.