Saturday, August 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Jobs

My very first job, besides the massive amount of babysitting that I did, was at Lockheed Martin in the Missiles and Space working 4 hours a day, 3 day s a week and making $5 an hour.  Not bad for a 16-year-old.  I got the job through the work-life program at school.  I remember going for the interview and getting the job.  It was my very first interview and I had NO CLUE.  I have no idea why they picked me- the other candidates must have come straight from the Smoking Hill or something…

The department I worked for studied sun spots.  We had a satellite that sent us data from the sun.  In addition to her tasks, I was in charge of storing the back-ups of the data.  This was in the days of terminals that connected to a massive system that couldn’t even do half as much as my phone does now.  But in those days, I’d go down to the computer FLOOR and rewind the giant spools of tape and replace it with another.  I’d label them and put them in storage.

I also printed out the data from the spools.  They printed on computer paper- the kind that is one long paper that accordion folded and had the tear-ff holes on the sides.  These would be dated and logged into enormous binders.  Sometimes I would be assigned the task of finding sun spots in the data.  I admit to sucking at this, so I rarely spent time at it.  On the afore-mentioned printouts, there were zeroes and ones.  Whenever there appeared to be a pattern change, I would highlight that area.

I was also allowed to use the terminals to type school papers, which was pretty exciting since there weren’t word processors then- just typewriters (which I also sucked at).  I believe the computer “floor” used an extremely awkward and ancient version of WordStar.  And then just BASIC programming to make it work.  All this computer experience at the time, though, did give me an edge at school where the math teachers, who were in charge of the brand new “computer lab” didn’t actually know how to use computers…

1 comment:

  1. This is a really interesting first job story!