A Repost of Continued Studies
To stay on course, I continued to taper off from partying and dedicated my time to studying. To look the part, I began wearing preppy/collegiate fashions, and totted drafting supplies, and slung a slide rule from my belt. With my dark rimmed glasses, I carried myself like a focused intellectual. Although not intentional, I was beginning to look like an IBM nerd.
One day while I was studying upstairs in my bedroom, a party was going on down in the basement. My brother Don invited me to join. After I turned him down he said, “No good-skie.” In other words, he realized how serious I was, and wanted me to take a break from my studies. Nevertheless, I remained firm. Even though I continued to hang out on a few occasions, I continued to crack the books; because the homework assignments demanded it in order to get a decent grade. I realized I had to remain committed and focused, and not allow myself to be side tracked by excessive addiction to drinking and partying.
This reformed lifestyle stirred up the 3Cs: confusion, concern and contempt, amongst my runnin’ partners. Like young kids, they’d get frustrated when I didn’t come out to play. In gist, I had snapped out of the mode of habitual partying, and focused on pursuing a career in technology. In contrast, however, my party timing was not completely over yet.
My tenacity began to show; because through the efforts of an employment agency, IBM recruiters had contacted me and offered me a position as a customer engineer in early 1965. The job consisted of classroom and hands-on training for preparation as an entry-level keypunch repairman. Their objective was to assign me to the keypunch pool at the 30th Street Pennsylvania Railroad station.
A Bad Decision
I was intent on accepting the offer until Karen assertively objected to it. I surmise she didn’t want me working in a room full of female keypunch operators. I guess I called myself trying to please my spouse; because I reluctantly turned down the job.
Thinking back on my decision, I regret rejecting the offer for two primary reasons: 1) I could have joined the company earlier, and worked toward higher career advancement; and 2) my retirement pension today would have been bigger. As a result of that decision, today both Karen and I receive a smaller pension check—her checks are for alimony payments.
Moreover, I could have had the chance to be in a room full of leggy women; and as a railroad buff, a chance to work in a train station. What was I thinking? After all, I was the bread winner, not her.