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Hotel Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, FL

1977: Achievement Conference

 

The slender young man in a tight bathing suit quickly climbed the tower to a small platform high above me. Really just a ladder supported by guide wires, the tower was almost as tall as the hotel. The swimming pool below him seemed to be awfully small and awfully shallow for a dive from that height. I'm not really afraid of heights, but a one meter diving board is the highest I've ever tried. I suppose it's just a matter of training and conditioning, but it's nothing I've ever wanted to do. With a flourish from the band's drummer, the audience, crowded around the pool with drinks in hand, came to an immediate quiet as all heads turned upward. The diver barely flexed his legs and he was flying in a graceful arc to the waiting water. He broke the surface and the audience applauded vigorously.

The entire Hotel Fontainbleau, in Miami Beach, Florida had been rented for the weekend by IBM's General Systems Division (GSD) for an Awards Conference. It was not that everyone was getting an award, though. For most of us, the invitation to the conference was award enough, a bit of recognition for a job well done. My managers had liked my work on the Message Handler component of the

.) project and were pleased with my knowledge of the overall system. So I had gotten to come to Florida, in early August, where the temperatures outdoors where 110 degrees and the humidity 100%. Not exactly the high season in South Florida, the hotel had been opened just for the conference.

Most of the official program was indoors and consisted of motivational speakers, entertainment and presentations by GSD executives. These were real ego boosters. They did a great job of making me feel special, and of wanting to do so good a job that I'd be invited to attend future Awards conferences, and maybe even get one of the big awards that were given out at the final session.

The following Monday, near the end of the day, Ben Eynon came into my office. A friendly, easygoing guy, Ben was the manager of one of the programming departments. We'd become casual friends and had even met each other's families. He asked about the conference, and I told him about some of its high points.

"You know," he said "there was a lot of argument among management about whether you should go."

"Really?" I said. "What was the big deal."

"Oh, you've done a good job with the Message Handler, but changing designs in midstream caused a lot of problems. You've got some real enemies now, people who didn't think you deserved to go to the conference."

"Who?" I asked, but he wouldn't say.

He left my office, and my feelings of euphoria from the conference left with him.

 

1974: L'institut de recherche sur systèmes

 

Désolé, pas encore traduit.