Chucks Employment Journey ~ 1958 to 2020

1953 - A Situation that Changed my Life

My parents worked very hard all their life and around 1951 finally had enough money to build a new house and all the surrounding buildings on the 160 acre farm. It was unfortunate that my mother only had a few years to enjoy the new house. She could have been an interior decorator, and eventually Better Homes and Gardens came out and said they heard about the house and wanted to feature it in their magazine. My parents felt that the neighbors might think we were showing off? My mother passed away with breast cancer and I was 13 years old, I was a mess for several years.

But some how, my father went out and found a woman from Wisconson to marry! She had a daugher a year older that I was. But talk about lucky, Rose was so wonderful. Took care of me and made sure I had advantages if possible!

She certainly was a departure from my mother. She got up and make breakfast for us but then put on a business suit and drive to Freeport, a town of about 12,000 people, and worked as a high end secretary for a corporation! I was impressed!

Read on about my life journey into the work a day world mainly due to my stepmother!

1958 - High School and Rockford College

I was thinking about how my life was changed due to situations that occured to me, especially during my early years after high school. I graduated in 1958 and decided to go to a private school, Rockford College. Rockford was the second biggest city in Illinois after Chicago with over 200,000 residence and my sister and her husband lived there in a new ranch style house. I stayed there most of the time when in college. I had classes in humanities, English, French, Art and so on, things to make one a well rounded person! The summer of 1959, I wasn't sure about my next move, to return to college or what? My stepmother answered that question.

1959 - My Stepmother Found Me My First Job

After my first year of college I was spending the summer at home, not sure if I would go back to college. My stepmother, Rose, said I needed to get a job and somehow she got me an interview at Burgesss Battery, a huge manufacturing company in Freeport. I went and interviewed and came home and nothing happened for a month. One day I was shoveling cow crap and Rose ran out of the house yelling at me, "Get in house now, you have a phone call!" I wondered if one of my aunts in Freeport were calling me. Rose got mad and said to get on the phone immediately. I answered and the manager offered me a job and to start on Monday! Thank you stepmother!

1959 - Burgess Battery Manufacturing - 402/403 IBM Tabulating Machines

I went to work on Monday and was told I was being sent to Chicago to stay in a highrise hotel with a swimming pool on the roof over looking the city! I was going to be trained in the use of IBM's tabulating machines. I went to Chicago and thought, this is the life. The IBM offices were on the 40 story of the glass covered high rise and they taught me how to wire boards (program) for the tabulating machines and calculator plus leaning to create punched cards (data input) and how to use the sorters for reporting purposes.

This was the start of my knowledge of the tech industry!

1960 - Anderson Brothers Manufacturing - 407 IBM Tabulating Machines

After a year I decided I wanted to move to the big city and found a job at Anderson Brothers in Rockford, small computer center and the staff were all so nice. Unfortunately, after about eight months the center was closed down! What to do?

1960 - Ingersol Manufacturing and Drafting

I was always interested in sketching and am very accurate in designing and was hired as an apprentice in the drafting department. After about six month the boss said he was sorry as they liked me but I didn't have enough experience in engineering. I told him I agreed, no hard feelings and I just needed to get on with my job search but, the next job is very entertaining!

1961 - Warehouse Distribution and the Union Chief

I think my sister saw an ad for someone to work in this massive warehouse and manage the inventory and other aspects of the job. I was hired on the spot and showed to my office! Office! The warehouse was at least a block square and three stories high, levels of storage for parts to be trucked to various locations. My office was really an open affair, it sat in the middle of the warehouse, no walls, just me and my desk and filing cabinets! My boss really like me and told me if I continued working there, in 20 years or so I could take command of the union and be a big boss like he was! Half the time we sat around smoking and drinking coffee and screwing around. After about six month I figured unless I wanted to be a union boss or mafia associate, I needed to get on with my life! Off to another job!

1962 - Amrock Manufacturing

I'm not sure how I found this job but went in with my suit and ready for the interview. I was hired on the spot. The building was new and had over 500 employees. The computer room was huge and the latest equipment. It even had an IBM disk memory read write machine and the only one I saw until 20 years later! I think it was an experimental model.

I loved that job and my boss thought the world of me. My next experience was certainly not expected! The office liked me so much that even three years later my boss was calling my sister as to whether I would please come back to Amrock!

1963 - What a Shock

I think it was around May of 1963, I was going home from work and stopped at a bar for some reason. The TV had news about Cuba and the missile crisis. I figured so what and went home to my apartment in downtown Rockford. It was a huge mansion on the river and I had two roommates. We lived in the attic, but it had five rooms with windows overlooking downtown and the river.

I got the mail and saw a letter from the government and thought who cares! I opened it and it ws my draft papers to go in for the physical and signing of papers! I was not pleased. I told my boss and me told me that my job was safe and they wanted me to come back in two years. My boss even called my sister several times after two years wondering when I might come back. Nice to be wanted! My sister told him, "Never!".

1963 - Fort Knox Kentucky Basic Training

I ended up in Fort Knox Kentucky for basic training, 800 men in quick time, six weeks! They wanted me to be the 1st Platoon leader but I said I wasn't interested. I did win an award for being the top shot out of 800 men, in the top ten in the cross country test and I had the highest IQ of the 800 men.

After a few weeks the First Sargent who was big and black and had a new Cadillac, would drive up to where we were doing our training, point his finger at me and motion me to his car, get in now, yes sir. the other 799 wondered what was up as I was picked up on the average of twice a week to meet high ranking military personnel, especially generals! I found out they got points if I went to officer's training to be a Second Lieutenant.

The last week I was unsure as to what to do. I had one more meeting with a general and as I sat there waiting, his secretary called me over and whispered, we can be court martialed if they know I told you this. I advise you not to accept as I know your orders after graduating. Just keep quiet.

On Graduation Day all 800 of us were standing at attention. I was called up to get a trophy for best marksmanship. Of the six awards given out, five were from the 1st Platoon. The First Seargent then called out names and said they were to stand in a group. Most were in the 1st Platoon and were told they were going to a training camp in the south to train in the swamps! Vietnam in the future perhaps! He kept calling names and in the end, I was standing there along. All the troops wondered what was up. The Generals and other military looked at me and the First Sergent gave me an evil look and said, "Buntjer, did you know where you were going?". I just stood there.

He said Buntjer is going to the base where the retiring military all want to go to for their last few years. It is one of the most beautiful bases and Buntjer is being stationed at the Presdidio of San Francisco and will be working at the computer center overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the cities around the bay. For some reason all the friends I made in the 1st Platoon would not talk to me again. My stepmother said she talked to other mothers and their sons felt I got such a good deal because I was white and middle class! Of course I had over four years of working in various situations and most of them didn't. As a matter of fact, one third of our platoon were around 23 and had worked in various jobs. Many younger ones from places like Arkansa had to have me show them how to tie a tie!

1965 - IBM Service Bureau

I finished my two years in the Army and the final papers were signed in Oakland in the summer of 1965, I applied for a job in San Francisco with IBM working with small banks that couldn't process their checks and other materials in-house. IBM rented machines to process checks and create bank statement. IBM was in the Ferry Building at that time. Within a year I didn't think I was going any place to looked again for another job in the City.

1966 - Fireman's Fund Insurance - The Biggest Computer Center West of Chicago - 360s/370s Main Frames

I started out as an operator and eventually became an Assistant Supervisor. The computer center was so huge we had customer service people on site most of the night. One corner of the huge room was setup for the service people and they also had experimental equipment they were testing so we got so see the latest equipment.

My friend Patti started out in around 1967 and first started in filing the tapes in the tape vault. I think we had over 40,000 tapes and around the late 70s or so, disk packs were brought in, maybe six or so and in a short time all the data on those thousands of tapes were stored on the disk drive and they had random access for easy read/write abilities.

Eventually they decided to move way north and I did not want to leave the City so after about 15 years, was out and about looking for a new job!

Here I am in 1969, assistant manager of the swing shift. I am in the center with the checked sports jacket. My friend of 50 years is Patti in the left side of the photo!

1980 - Blue Cross of California - Business Analyst

I applied for a business analyst job at Blue Cross in a group of about 14 personnel on the 18th floor of the building in down town Oakland. I learned a lot about designing and processing claims and other factors involved in health services.

In 1985 we had a new president, a friend of President Reagon, we should have been warned. He gave a talk about how the 21 story building full of employees were doing such a wonderful job and no worries about changes. I came in early Monday morning and logged on to my P.C. and the logon failed. Why? I looked at my boss, she leaned against the wall with her head down. Soon all of the staff came in and our boss said to just wait for a while. HR came in with a guard and packets for each of us. Next thing we were out on the streets, no job. The entire building was emptied out. The business was moved entirely to Woodland Hills next to L.A.

Just to show you how nasty they were, a Chinese woman had been there 35 years and they told her the pension was canceled because she needed two more weeks on the payroll. We all were so mad and she hired a law firm and the next thing I found out if you were there over five years you qualified as they had to honor her pension. I happened to be there 5 1/2 years so at 62 I could receive $400.00 a month, not too bad.

1986 to 2002 - Computer Constultant

After I left Blue Cross a friend said I should become a Consultant, no more trying for a permanent job. I found several agencies and on top of my salary they usually recieved $20 an hour just to place me. So $800 a week for 50 weeks, $40,000.00, this $20 on top of my salary! I originally started out at around $45.00 an hour. So about a thousand dollars a week.

I worked at several software companies in Silicon Valley and many in San Francisco. I worked for B of A in Concord to manage the programming of their disaster backup and recovery systems in San Franciso and Los Angeles. I also worked on the Y2K fix for B of A. I started to build websites for companies in 1998 and continue today to maintain my website after 20 years and help others setup websites. Here I am consulting at William Sonoma, I then went to Kaiser for outpatient booking, then Schwab and my last consulting job was at Franklin Templeton Insurance. This was in 2002.

I had to laugh as I told them what my salary was, $65.00 an hour over the $20 for the agency. $2,600.00 a week! When I started out in 1967 at Fireman's Fund I was making $95.00 a week. The contract was only six months long but that was $60,000.00. So my annual salary would have been $120.000.00. Not too bad for a farm boy from Illinois.

I retired in 2002 and even after a year I still got calls from Shwab and Frankin Templeton to come back to do consulting as they were so pleased with my work.

2003 - Residential Elderly Administrator Certification Program

In 2002 I decided to retire from the computer industry and I continued to travel around the world as can be seen on the Home Page of my web site! I figured my employment days were over, little did I know what was happening in the near future!

I was on a cruise at the tip of South America, Magellan Straits in Tierra del Fuego, in April of 1999. The ship did a round trip from Chile to Argentina and then I flew on to Easter Island. I met a new friend, Viviane, on the cruise. She was living in Beverly Hills and we ended up going to Vienna for the Millennium New Year and the next year we went to Morocco for the real Millennium New Year.

One day she contacted me and said she was renting a large ranch style home in Woodland Hills and was taking over a senior residence for up to six clients. She asked me if she paid all the expenses, would I like to become an administrator for the residence. Of course I said yes!

I had to take a California State test to have a license as a care giver manager for a facility and I worked part time in running the business which means frequent flights to LAX or the Burbank Airport. We had a company car so I could take breaks when needed.

When I wasn't working and we had spare time, Viviane would take me to lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel or go to the LACA (LA County Museum) or the Getty Museum plus other activities. The business ran for about six years when Viviane decided the business wasn't paying the overhead but we had a great time while it lasted.

2020 - Celebrating My 80th Birthday on the Indian Ocean

I have been traveling the world for the last 30 or so years. All the continents except Antarctica.

Here I am this year, 2020, on a cruise for my 80th birthday on the Indian Ocean. I went to Dubai, on to Oman, then India and finally Sri Lanka. The captain announced that we were recieving $150.00 to spend as we wished since we were turning back to Dubai. Thailand and Singpore were now out of limits due to the COVID-19 virus. That was fine with me as I had been to those two places already!

I have had many birthdays in places growing up I thought I would never see. Birthdays in Indonesia, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Cambodia, Algeria, Dubai and many more.

I also have some birthdays in the USA, Washington D.C., New Orleans and other cities.

I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my work place experiences. Even today I wonder sometimes how I managed to do all those things that were a dream for me growing up on the farm in northern Illinois. One never knows where life will lead one. That is the wonder of life!

View of San Francisco from Chuck's Apartment!

Created on: 2020.06.08
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Updated on: 2020.06.09