Thursday, October 10, 2013
"I had a dream" that I was beta-testing a Treasury mainframe system to prioritize payments after debt default
I mentioned yesterday that corporate mergers and buyouts have often, in practice, resulted in job loss and resulted in existential challenges to the careers of many IT professionals, just as national crises, like the debt ceiling (and debt itself) crisis is an existential threat to the savings of everyone.
I also mentioned that I sometimes benefited from mergers because of some unusual personal circumstances with outside activities.
There is a platitude, “Change is good.” The changes that come from mergers often benefit technology employees who are the most current on the “hot skills” and who can pick up new skills very quickly, a necessity that become challenging to older employees particularly with Object Oriented Programming, particularly when professionals are expected to drop into someone else’s world. The fact that java went from a toy to a major production language in about four years didn’t make it easier.
Another important aspect of navigating change caused by external forces (someone “walks in the door”) is people skills. Anyone has to “sell” to internal customers. But a major adjustment is being able to sell someone else’s product to the outside world.
I must say that “I had a dream” last night. I was working (in New Mexico, I don’t know why) on a Treasury system to prioritize payments after the debt ceiling was exceeded and cash was short. I was running simulations in a test region on the mainframe and getting S0C7’s, and had to get the job done before the stock market opened. In the dream, the courts had ruled that the president could authorize all bond payments, but no social security payments without permission of Congress when we ran out of money (because of “Flemming v. Nestor”). I had to go back to work in mainframe because my own Social Security had been stopped forever and my own savings had plummeted in value.
Just as in 1987 with daily billing at Chilton, we had a conference room filled with listings. The prioritization module was in IBM mainframe assembler, just like the old "BA162" at Chilton.
But I still wasn’t ready to become a huckster. I can’t protect other people’s families by selling them financial products in this world.