Saturday, October 23, 2010

Evolution: Transition 1983

By 1983 I had been at FMC in San Jose three years. In the early 80's if you had been in a job over two years in Silicone Valley, you were considered stagnant. During those years, young workers made a second career of job hopping. I had come to all this from the outside (California) world, and didn't buy into the job hopping but, pushed on by peer pressure, in November I went to a job fair. Several fellow writers from FMC had gone to the fair earlier and were recruited by Martin Marietta in Denver. They convinced me to go to the fair and I agreed to an all expense paid interview in Denver.

I had never been to Colorado. I had envisioned Wyoming as a place to escape the fast pace of Silicone Valley, but Colorado would be close enough. California has a reputation for being laid back, but the truth is there it takes a lot of energy to maintain that image. To me is was more like a buzzing hive, and I was ready to move on.

When I interviewed in Denver, Martin Marietta was hiring droves of writers, editors and logistic support analysts to support the Peacekeeper (MX) missile project. They offered me more money than I made in California and full relocation. I fell in love with Denver at first sight, and signed on. The only hitch was that I had to move to Denver and start work within a couple weeks, December 5 at the latest.

Martin Marietta arranged for a mover, so I packed everything else in my 1978 Datsun pickup and Thanksgiving weekend, to avoid bad weather north, I drove from San Jose to Bakersfield and across the desert to Las Vegas. I spent the night in Vegas then left before dawn traveling I-40 through Flagstaff to Albuquerque. I stayed overnight, then took I-25 to Denver. It was -25 degrees in Denver my first week there.

During the interview process in November, I had a one-on-one with the director of technical publications. He told me that when I came to work for Martin Marietta I would be joining a family and I would be taken care of for the rest of my career. He had been there 35 years, since he came out of college. Two months after I moved to Denver, he was laid off. He was at the end of the last generation where you could confidently believe in a safe job for life at a corporation. My generation watched that generation's beliefs crushed and had to learn to adapt to the new culture. That is evolution.

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