There was an all hands meeting today with the new Chief Executive of my firm and he used no less than 11 figures of speech like “knock it out of the park” and so on which generally makes me dismiss what people have to say. After about 20 minutes of this with 25 minutes still left on the clock he asked for questions. I raised my hand, asked one, and received a non-answer, after clarification, other people were able to answer the question. After the meeting, my coworkers were a mix of hopeful and skeptical about the direction of the department.

I stayed late that evening and ran into the CEO and asked another question. He answered it and followed up:

CEO: What’s around your neck?
Me: Headphones.
CEO: What do you use them for?
Me: I listen to audiobooks or music when I’m doing certain repetitive tasks.
CEO: We don’t listen to music here.

I don’t know if I’d rather that be an arbitrary dictum, him getting back at me for embarrassing him at today’s meeting, or me being punished for bothering him on his way out.