Wyatt Underwood's


A Career

In 1965, I started work in an aerospace company. Boy, was I lucky! Even luckier, my new supervisor assigned me a job no one else wanted: working with computers. First I had to learn what the computers wanted or needed from me. Which led to programming classes. Oh man! Oh man! I thought computers must have been built so I could solve their puzzles! I loved everything I got to do with them!

And that led to working on the Lunar Orbiter Project, then for a brief stint (1968 was a horrible year) on the manned mission into space. I went back to graduate school.

Being able to program a computer let me earn some money in addition to my stipend, and let me see work I'd've never seen otherwise. All of it fascinated me.

Then a friend from Lunar Orbiter days called with a job that paid real money and put me back into working with computers in the unmanned exploration of space. Oh man! Life was good.

I worked with computers in the unmanned exploration of space until about 1986, then decided to try freelance programming.

Please laugh. A person who communicates well with computers and knows how to process data many different ways is not necessarily a good business person.

So I did contract work as a programmer. Better. Someone else did the saleswork, the accounting, the business stuff.

Then I took a job working for an insurance company that merged into a larger insurance company that merged into a larger insurance company. I was hired to maintain some old programs that none of their new programmers knew how to program. Then I got a chance to program for their databases. Then to administer their databases. Then to maintain, take care of, and administer the machines those databases ran on. And lo! It was all fun! That is, the technical work always was.

And one day I looked around and I'd worked on computers in many ways and for many people and almost forty-seven years had passed! It was time to retire. So I did.

But what a fun forty-seven years! I worked with big computers, bigger computers, smaller computers, even smaller computers, personal computers, networked computers, database computers - and every one of them a kick! Every one of them demanded me to learn more or different ways to solve puzzles and get what people wanted from them! What a great way to use forty-seven years! Thank you, universe!