Why I Canceled ?
So I excised some of the punch lines out of my presentation and e-mailed them to [person's name]. She e-mailed me to say she would prefer me to use PowerPoint for my presentation, and asked if I wanted her to help me create a PowerPoint presentation? I e-mailed her that the presentation is on the Mac version of PowerPoint, and no thank you.
Monday night at 9 p.m. (EST) [one week prior to my departure] she asked if I didn't want her to help me create a PowerPoint presentation. Bill, I've been in front of audiences for 40 years and have given talks all over the country and elsewhere. I did not appreciate a condescending little functionary suggesting I don't know how to give a talk. Then she asked me if I had booked a business class seat because [Company Name] rules say no business class. I said, No, I booked an economy seat on US Airways. How much was it? she asked. Around $1,900, I said. That is too much money, she said. Her travel person found a United flight from Philadelphia to Orlando with a more than three-hour layover in Orlando and then a flight to San Francisco—return the same way—for $350. I listened in stunned silence as she read this itinerary to me. What's more, she said, [Company Name] would be glad to pay the rebooking fee. I started mentally calculating the hours.
Being compulsive since 9/11, I get to the airport three hours early whenever I fly. Plus two hours to Orlando. Plus a three-hour layover. Plus six hours to San Francisco. Plus a half hour to and from airports. That is 15 hours one way, and 15 hours back. [Company] expected me to spend 30 hours on airplanes and in airports over three days, plus a recovery day—for $125 a day. She was not particularly nice about it, either. She harangued me and humiliated me, making me feel like some kind of pariah for ripping off the company.