Starting Work My First Two Jobs
My working life Part 1.
am a white South Africa who has been around for many years, some 59 I was educated at
Parktown Boys High School gained my matriculation certificate in December of 1968. Grew up in around Joubert Park and Hillbrow, the central part of the Northern Suburbs. More about that and my School Days later, but that is altogether another hub, which will appear later.
Facing impeding military service like every white South African male over the age of sixteen, as we had to bring the letter that Army sent every six months, I think it was, have it stamped and signed by the school, then the school forwarded back to them. In September 1968, my final school year. Decided I would have to join either the bank or the post office, as they wherer the only ones that actually paid you while you where doing Military service at that time. went along to one of the major Banks and applied for a position. A month later received a letter from them informing me that my application was successful, you know the type of thing, Salary When to start, Where was my place of work, What to wear. I was now a junior bank clerk Grade 1, or was it 2, telling my position was successful, and I was in some ways lucky and going to work at the branch, slap bang in the middle of Hillbrow, and only some 5 minutes walk away.
So with this I could face the Army, as the Banks had a policy of actually paying you while you were serving your stint in the Army, provided that you worked at least three months before being mobilised, and once you had completed your tour of duty, then 9 months, you would work for them for a period of a year, if i remember correctly.
The time at the bank was
tedious and very boring I would be the relief Switchboard Operator at
lunch times and when the actual operator was off for any reason. My
other duties, where general accounts clerk running around collecting
this and that.
My greatest thrill and excitement, which I only realized when I came back to the branch, was called into the Public Sub Accountant's office and was handed an envelope, a bank bag and bus fare, instructed to go through to Head Office's Foreign Exchange Department.
This I duly did, went through, walked smartly over to the Managers Office, as instructed, was handed a bank bag which I then put into the bank bag that I had brought with me, returned by bus back to Hillbrow and the to my branch.
They opened the bags and counted the contents out with me standing there, they firstly extracted a Internal Bank Transfer for Forign Exchange. Then the fun part, they took out a stack of American Express Travelers Cheques 100,000 Thousand Dollars in a mixture of denominations, 200,000 German Marks, 300,000 British Pounds, I cannot remeember how much there actually was in bank notes of the various foreign currencies, . I then signed off that I witnessed the counting and double counting process.
I felt week at the knees as I went across to the Skyline Hotel across the road and ordered a coke and a bar pie as it was now lunchtime, yes it was a coke as the served the best pies with chips and a gravy,but you had to order something to drink as well.
I heard of an opening as an operator at Phil Morkel, so went and applied got the job and was into computers.Trainee operator, well my job for the first few days was to learn how to stack boxes of fanfold paper, as they were delivered, maintain the stock sheet. Remove the carry boxes into the computer room, Again maintaining a record on the stock sheet. I still remember the stock requirements in the computer room, and that was in 1969.
Within about 3 weeks I was cleaning the tape decks,
loading the paper into the printer, loading punchcards into the card
reader, removing punch cards from card punch, loading and unloading
mangetic tapes. Understood the central control panel could read
binary,which was the way the B500 communicated with us. Understood
the flow charts from which we operated each phase of the "Job
Sheet". I was a Computer Operator.
Let me tell you about this particular Computer, it was housed in a room which was about the size a two double garage long, by 2 double garages width ways. Big, it stood on a raised floor where all the cabling ran as well as outlet for the air conditioner, which kept it as my Data Processing Manager would say, nipple erect temperature, his loved to get the punch room supervisor to bring a deck of cards for a special run, or program and keep her talking.
You got used to working with a jersey on all the time, come out and lose the jersey while drinking a cup of tea or coffee and having a quick smoke, this would be approximately every 3/4 of an hour or so, as it did get cold and you guessed it no smoking drinking eating was allowed in that sterile environment.
The CPU was the size of the Commodore Petwhen it came out and like the Pet was only capable of one task at a time. So when we ran the Month end for the company it took 72 hours, we started at 18h00 hours and ran through to Monday late afternoon, a tidy bit of overtime, we would sleep in relays for a couple of hours each and during some of the sorts that run for an hour to and hour and a half.
We would then stagger off home and crash for anything up to 14 hours and that would only be because we were ravenous.
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