T-SQL Tuesday #150: Your First Technical Job

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My first technical job was right out of college in the before before times of 1999: I was the stage manager for a local professional theater. I spent 10 months coordinating communication between the production team, running rehearsals and shows herding actors and the like. All for the fantastic rate of $250/week. At the end of the year I realized even at minimum wage (and the overtime) I would have made more money if I had worked at the McDonald’s down the block. But then I would have missed out on running a garden house from the building’s first floor rehearsal space up into the the theater on the third floor, having dinners on the roof of the theater with my light board operator and generally living the starving artist life.

Realizing that maybe 5 years a private university followed by less than minimum wage work might not be the best plan I scheduled myself for some programming courses at the community college and landed my self a part-time gig as sales assistant at the local Fox affiliate. This is was also my first technical job. I was responsible for ensuring the commercials booked in bulk by the national ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi ran as according to contract. Upon arrival I would get a printout of all the spots that had been dropped the day before when the sales people bumped the lower paying spots for other ads. I’d connect a terminal session to the mainframe and attempt to reschedule everything as well as track the overall state of the contract in a spreadsheet to assist in the quarterly true up/negotiation. After two quarters of more schooling (actually not quite 2 as I was almost finished with the second but not quite). I got my next technical job: VB 6 programmer.

For the next three years I rode out the tail end of the dot com bubble creating Interactive Voice Response systems, scripting call flows, business logic and screen scraping terminals for utility companies, state agencies and county court systems (mostly court systems). This was pretty standard fare really: poor documentation, clients that don’t read them, writing up documentation and multiple trips to the exotic Californian Inland Empire. I do still have very fond memories of driving from Sacramento to San Luis Obispo to learn that my refusal to try sea food was super foolish (the best way to learn–really almost anything–is by stuffing your face with fresh crab, potatoes and sausage). All good things come to an end and I found myself returning to Washington state and a 10 year hiatus from technology until I went back to school (again) in 2011 to get my “I do computers” paper. It was while back in school I decided that attempting to write apps for web, various android flavors and iOS seemed less than appealing and focused on databases. Shortly after graduating I landed my first (junior) DBA gig and the rest is recent-ish history!