50 Years Ago Today…

Developing Test Sets in the 1980s (with a lot of hair 😉)

I remember June 8, 1970 very well. It was the day I joined the working world on a full time basis. I don’t know how that could have been so long ago. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I had graduated from Purdue on Saturday and went to work the following Monday. I hardly had a dollar in my pocket as almost all I earned up to then had gone to paying off my college bills, so I had to borrow $5 from Dad to get enough gas to get to work that week.

Oh, how the world has changed since that day! At that time most of us totally expected to work for one company for thirty years and freakishly that is what happened to me, barely. The company I worked for changed dramatically during those thirty years and my place in it did too. I started out as an engineer but about half-way through I got an opportunity to shift over to the IT (information technology) side as an applications developer. That is where I should have been all along, but I had to wait for that job category to be created.

Now after twenty years in retirement I will admit that I really didn’t enjoy what I started out doing, and I was never really that good at it. I stayed there mainly for the job security and the promise of a pension. The money was good and I didn’t really have enough faith in my abilities at that time to look elsewhere. When I went deaf in 1988 I was afraid that even my employment there would end, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I found an opportunity to reinvent myself in more ways than one.

Yes, there were some rough times during those years. One was due to my supervisor failing to do his job. I was given a nine-month job to do with his promise that more team members would be assigned to the project. Of course that didn’t happen! Instead, I ended up working ten hours a day, seven days a week to do it on my own. Every week he told me that help was coming but… At the deadline of the job about 20% of it remained undone. As a result I got my lowest pay raise of my thirty-year career for working 70 hours per week for over six months! Why didn’t I say something about my boss? I don’t really know. It was probably a number of things.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I didn’t like what I spent 30 years of my life doing. There were memorable projects and friendships made. I have been in the third phase of my life now for twenty years and I can attest that this phase has been the most enjoyable of the three. I have been able to finally live my life on my terms, and I look forward to all the future days that the Lord gives me.