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  • Jon, I loved your story about yourself and what you do. I hope that if I'm ever "under the knife" and something goes wrong with the machine that circulates my blood and keeps it warm or cool or whatever it does--you are the man who strides into the operating room and works his magic.

    I know the feeling you're expressing, though at a less critical level. I often felt that I was one person but I was seen as someone--something--quite different. When my husband and I moved to Maryland where he took a job as an infrared systems engineer, I started doing secretarial temp work while I figured out what to do with my time. After a few assignments, I stepped into an empty spot as secretary to the CFO of a Baltimore investment house. After a couple of weeks I was offered a permanent position. For once in my life, I had the luxury to speak up and let the chips fall wherever. I said I would like a permanent job, but not as secretary. I had been helping a couple of clerical people working with computers for the first time. I'd had a personal computer for several years by that time and was self-taught, but I said I'd like to be a computer support consultant. Well, the next thing I knew he had offered me twice what he had been paying the temp agency and a computer was put into each office with two accountants. I was off and running--and I do mean running. I taught myself to write spreadsheet macros to help them do the routine operations they'd been using the calculators to do. Then the payroll group needed some routines, and accounts receivable and payable. Then I had to get into database management. Oh, no! Then the computer expert (with two degrees--computers and accounting) who had worked for two years on a Unix program to create all the SEC reports, left to take a bank job. When the new year rolled around, his program didn't work anymore. I didn't know Unix, but I'd read his reports and knew what he was doing, so I figured out how to do the same thing with dBase and ReportWriter and was whipping out their quarterly and annual reports in a couple of months.

    I was on the point of panic all the time--even while I was confident I could figure it out. And it worked.

    I'm retired now--for many years, in fact. Now I have a book due by July 31, a young folks' novel, my second this year. I'm being pressured to send something. I'm not ready, but I feel confident I will be on time--even as I sit reading and writing on Cowbird. (smile)
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