Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year -- with end-of-year processing on a company holiday!

Year end processing—that’s what a lot of systems people on call have to deal with today. January 1, New Years Day, and the offices are officially closed, but most systems people in financial institutions carry pagers and don’t get compensated if they have to come in for a problem (unless on W-2 contracts).

In 1990, toward the end of my first year on a “new job” as a regular salaried employee, I did come in as a precaution New Years Night and happened to look at some control totals for a commission runs, and noticed that they were about one tenth of normal for a month. I called my boss, then called production control. It seemed that there was a PARMLIB date card wrong in the set up. VSAM files had to be restored (from FAVER backups) and the entire month-end commission cycle rerun. Shortly thereafter, there was an effort to automate the datecard setup for many production jobs with sophisticated DYL280 programs. (And remember good old DYL260? It looked like RPG. It looked ancient.)

Back on New Years Day 1986 I had another memorable year-end, then working for Chilton (now Experian), the credit reporting company. I was responsible for end-of-month billing. It the time it was in ALC, and it had been converted from DOS (under DUO, running under MVS with UPSI parameters in the JCL, and DTF’s converted to DCB’s). The EOM cycle started in a number of jobs in groups of five bureaus and ran all day (about eight hours), usually beginning around 6 AM. I still remember the prosaic DOS program names “BA162” and “BA165” that sound like something out of kindergarten (they even invaded our dreams Stephen King style) but became basic vocabulary in the company systems department, then on Fitzhugh in the heart of Dallas ‘s trendy Oak Lawn neighborhood, two miles from downtown. (The Redskins would meet their matches about twelve miles away, in Irving; maybe two miles to the west, EDS had been started in Exchange Park back in 1962; now the Cathedral of Hope is near that site).
Now, it isn’t funny, but my father had died at 3 AM that New Years morning, after a long (age 83), very productive and active life and a sudden short illness (with absolutely no spectacle, and it was the way he said he had wanted it to be). I went in to babysit the cycle – it was mine – before flying “home”

Picture (unrelated): National Presbyterian Center in NW Washington DC.

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