Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How often did programmers hold down "real jobs" while moonlighting?

How many programmers did I know that also held down “real jobs” at the same time? Over the years, a few.
In Dallas, around 1980, when I was working for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Consortium (“CABCO”) and never wrote a line of code (I was a “systems consultant”), a coworker, himself an evangelical Christian and quite open about it (on the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”), took a second job selling cars to “feed his babies”.   
In the early 1990s, while at a life insurance company in Arlington VA, a COBOL programmer, returning after just a week on another job he didn’t like, worked evenings for “Tos ‘R’ Us” – and maybe that was for “Babies ‘R” Us”.  
And as far back in 1971, an operations research analyst at RCA (then in Princeton, NJ), himself a well-hardened West Pointer and Vietnam veteran, held seminars in his home (I went to one) about starting Amway distributorships. 
And at Chilton, in the early 80s, our female manager  “Donna” used to talk about “real jobs” and called the Tuesday afternoon staff meetings “devotionals”.   

And also later in 1971, when I worked at NAVCOSSACT in Washington DC, a friend and co-worker, who got a mathematics thesis published while working there in a professional journal (I proofed it for him), worked weekend nights at the Giant supermarket, even boiling live lobsters.  A former teacher in Florida, he was "just" a GS-7 and had married an "instant family". 

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