Seikh, Watchmaker and an Insultant

By Larry Teren


What do a Seikh, a watchmaker and an insultant have in common? Not much except that the three of us were hanging around shooting the breeze at the  watch repair place a block from my condo. I’m sure you’ve seen the store- the watchmaker has a big sign on his car that reads WATCH REPAIR to encourage those who get off the expressway a block away to think about putting a new battery in a watch that long ago stopped working.

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The Office of the Self-Employed

By Larry Teren


There is nothing like being self-employed and working from home as long as you can stand the boss, the hours and the lack of benefits.  Continue reading “The Office of the Self-Employed”

Why There Are No Jobs

By Larry Teren


We already know that the world isn’t coming to an end but what some of us find hard to accept is that there is no longer a need for the same percentage of people in the workforce as there was during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Face it- computers have done what the experts promised years ago would happen. Data processing makes us more efficient and requires less people to do the tasks than were used to by humans manually. Continue reading “Why There Are No Jobs”

Second Banana in Business

I’m what you call a “second banana” in the world of business. My job is to make the “top banana” look good. The top banana is usually the controller and sometimes owner of a company. They need help maintaining the company records as accurate as possible. They want to know where they are having successes and disappointments. They want to take credit for the successes. And they are always looking for ways to improve procedures and processes to make them more efficient and less error-prone.

This is where I, Mr. Second Banana, enter the picture. A controller whose business sells products with expiration dates asks me, “can you give me a list of all items that have a certain quantity of stock that is over a certain number of days old?” Or another will ask, “if I give you a spreadsheet of item codes and unit costs, can you import into the system new costs for the products we build as opposed to purchase for resale?” Or, “is there a way I can combine these four reports into one so I don’t have to run them separately?” Or, “how can I convert this information into separate spreadsheets to be sorted by sales rep so that they can be emailed to them?” Or, the real clincher, “is there a way to make all orders get inventory immediately allocated to them by bin as well have multiple bins for each item with their own unique quantity?”

Now that I’ve bored you with such detail, my usual answer to requests such as listed above is, “I can do anything for money”. In other words, if the client is willing to commit reasonable programming time to allow me to get the request done, I can do it. It’s my job to make him or her happy and look good to their bosses, creditors and/or auditors.
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Contractually Speaking

In 1980, I signed my first agreement. It was not a real contract per se that had paragraph after paragraph stipulating performance objectives, duration and compensation. It simply stated that I was to receive ten dollars an hour working eight hours a day for three days a week at a company that maintained power regulation equipment. For several weeks I was to receive two hundred and forty dollars per week to write inventory control software on a very early model small business computer.
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The first thing a college graduate does after the ceremony is look for a job unless he has rich relatives who plan on putting him in the family business. For the rest of us, this means putting together a resume- excuse me, I mean, CV. For more than thirty-five years, I always thought that the thing you typed up over and over again until you got it absolutely perfect was called a “resume”. Why? I have no idea. The word association never made sense. If it wasn’t pronounce like a foreign word, it then sounded as if something was being continued. Resuming what? Oh, I know- going from door to door and being told to get lost because the job was either already filled or they were testing the market place to see if there were any quality unemployed people out there worthy of future consideration. Or maybe they just didn’t like your face and decided you weren’t qualified. So, you kept on resuming the task of looking and looking. Ergo, the piece of paper that attested to your life’s body of work was an instrument of continuing- “resuming”- going around in circles, or a resume. Sounds good to me.
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Awkward Moments

It’s not easy to write about those awkward moments in life when you’ve been set up to be a sap and you know you had it coming. And it always seems to involve women. The earliest situation I recall was when I was in my very early teens and there was some type of game going on between the kids on both sides of the block. I happened to be outside and one frisky young lady was going around chasing me trying to kiss me. The thing was I happened to like her and wouldn’t have minded it but not in that situation. She and her friends were in on it and had a look in their eyes like they were going to have a big laugh about this after she had planted her pucker on my face. I did the noble thing and ran as quickly as I could into my house.
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