A Jobs Half Done

Steven Jobs was an Albert Einstein type guy that shows up every fifty years or so relative to where the rest of us stand on the ladder of brilliance. There are social commentators who state that he changed our culture three times. Once for the computer, another for listening to music and the third for how we talk on the phone.

Having probably lived longer as an adult than the people who made these profound judgments, I’d have to disagree with this trifecta assessment. For one, his contribution to how we use a computer is not so singular. Jobs is the guy who taught us to look at things spatially rather than linearly by adapting the mouse and iconic graphical screen for the computer. The jury is still out on how pragmatic that is in a work environment where the majority of the application interaction is for accounting and database retrieval. If the purpose of a computer is for playing games and looking at pictures and videos on the Internet, you could make a case.

The true innovator will be the one who makes an all-in-one I-pad type device that integrates business apps, voice and video, chatting, television and radio into a seamless and less obtrusive communicator. The I-pad is clumsy to work with unless you are adept at and satisfied with dragging your finger all over the screen. Okay, maybe it is a generational thing. I concede.

What about listening to music? Again, maybe this old fogey is the not the guy to ask but I haven’t had a transistor radio in years. The clock radio in my bedroom is used only for a few minutes in the morning as I get dressed while I listen to the news. At night, it lulls me to sleep listening to old-time radio shows. In the car, I listen to political talk shows, news and sports conversations. Once in a while if the news is bad along with the local sports teams, I flip to FM and dial in on the fine arts station. No, I’m not the guy who cares what can be downloaded from a podcast. I got other ways to waste my time.

As for talking on the phone- I’ve had a cell phone since they first came out 20 years ago or so. It was a Motorola flip phone that was big and bulky I still have a flip phone- obviously more trim and better featured- and do not pay for a data service option to receive and send text messages. It’s a phone for holding conversations, dammit and not to write notes. I have an email program on my computer, duh!

In baseball, they say that even if you go one for three, that it’s a pretty good batting average. For my team, I see Mr. Jobs with a .333 batting average at best. Okay, I’m not with it and out of touch. I was waiting for Steven to finally come out with something that others of my ilk and vintage and I can relate to. Sadly, we’ll not be able to witness this but hope that one day someone else will pick up and carry on his mantle.

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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My First Job at the Factory

Like death and taxes, everyone has a first job. I’ve had a few first jobs. The “first” first was a taste of what it was like to get bossed around by somebody other than my parents or school teachers. It happened in the summer of 1970 after I graduated high school.

I knew where I was going to college in the fall but had no idea what I was going to do for the next eight weeks or so now that I was a free man. (College wasn’t like grammar or high school because it wasn’t mandatory. Well, it was, if I was looking ahead to getting a good job when I was 21, presuming Uncle Sam wasn’t going to get to me first. Luckily, it all turned out okay as my selective service lottery number was 344 which meant that aliens, children and women would be picked ahead of me.)
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