Encounter to Mr. N
Mr. Saito was also taken, but not in the way my bad bosses lost their positions. One of the apostles saw his brilliance and plucked him out of our department. It was an advancement for him, but he seemed to accept the offer out of a sense of duty. The apostle’s department was in distress, and they needed to be saved. I was disappointed to lose him as my supervisor only after a few months.
My new supervisor was Mr. Yasui. He was one of the ex-automotive company squad who was good at taking orders from his bosses. He had spent a few years in South Africa during his years at the automotive company. He spoke English as slowly as he spoke Japanese with plenty of pauses between phrases and irritated even the most patient. He was not good at supervising juniors, but I like that he didn’t treat me so entirely useless. He brought me to most of the meetings with him and didn’t mind explaining things to me.
Our department organized quarterly management conferences, to which CEOs of overseas affiliates attended with the apostles and the heads of creative departments attended. Mr. Yasui set up meetings with the CEOs of overseas affiliates before the conference to discuss financial goals and other issues. I sat in the meetings with him to take notes and learn about overseas businesses. I met the heads of the offices in California, Las Vegas, London, Frankfurt, Hawaii, and Hong Kong.
At the end of the management conference, there was a small party, which we were allowed to attend and eat food discreetly. I was standing in the corner with a drink so that I didn’t interfere with the men’s conversation. The CEO of the European head office walked toward me with a smile that I didn’t see in the earlier meeting. He talked to me as if we had been friends for many years and told me I should visit his office in Frankfurt in December and attend the office Christmas party. I laughed as I thought it was just a nice avuncular gesture to ease my nerve around the powerful men. Then, he turned to Mr. Yasui and told him to send me to Frankfurt so that I could learn about the European business. Mr. Yasui attempted to laugh it out too, but the CEO insisted until Mr. Yasui agreed. I felt flattered that the CEO remembered me and offered an invitation to visit his office, an opportunity that had only been granted to men previously.
This was my first interaction with Mr. N, the CEO of the European business head office.