Finally, after many years of planning and dreaming, I am retired. I started work with my current employer November 14, 1977, but got my first hourly job back in November, 1967. A month before I turned 16, my mother told me I had to get a job within two weeks of my birthday. I did. I worked 25-33 hours a week while I was in high school. My first job was at the Kwik-Chek in Coconut Grove, Florida – a Winn-Dixie grocery store. My starting pay was $1.40 an hour, but I lucked out and minimum wage zoomed to $1.70 before I left a year later.
And before getting an hourly job, I had worked at mowing lawns, babysitting and two different paper routes. But I was no Horatio Alger, Jr. I hated work – it impinged on my childhood freedoms. I had many jobs between 1967 and 1977, but getting my job at Memphis State University in 1977 coincided with getting married in 1978. I couldn’t just quit a job anymore and move on. I had to settled down.
I always imagined I’d quit that job, never dreaming I’d stay 36 years. Instead I assumed Susan and I would move on to another city and state. We never did. But working for the state for all those years paid off with a nice pension. Plus working at a university was wonderful. In those ten years between my first job and the last, I worked many types of jobs and discovered all the kinds of work I didn’t like.
It took me over ten years to finish college. I ended up working with computers because I had so many computer courses, but ultimately I finished my major in English. I started taking computer courses in 1971 when they were still using punch cards and batch processing programs on an IBM 360 mainframe. I studied FORTAN, Assembly and COBOL. But by the time I got my first real programming job in 1987, I was hired to develop a dBASE III program for a Novell network of microcomputers. After web servers came out, I converted my programs to HTML/ASP/VBScript running on IIS using MS SQL Server. Those programs I developed in 1987 are still running. I wonder how long they will last? In 20-40 years, will someone still be maintaining them?
It’s strange to think that from now on I have no job to go to when I get up in the mornings.
Well, no regular job. My plan is to write novels. That’s my new career. I shall be my own employer. I hope I shall make myself work long hours and be very productive.
JWH – 10/22/13