Friday, August 24, 2012

8-24-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians -- Starter Job #188 (Working Temp in NYC: Typing for the Wrong Man)

As for the typing, there were different kinds of machines I’d work on. First, for a brief few years, on a typewriter like a large, clunky, loud IBM Selectric. Then came the in-between choice, an electric typewriter with memory that they called an early “word processor. . . “ the text showed up on a small screen above the keyboard and you could backspace and erase before hitting the “print” button.

Once actual personal computers with floppy disks did the work, using MultiMate or WordPerfect, soon enough Microsoft Office Suite took over and it was MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint. I’d say that was in the mid to late ‘90’s, though.

Right around that time, one of my tempjobs took me to work for Hearst. A super conglomerate communications corporation, Hearst at the time had several successful magazines and cable television companies that ran under its legendary umbrella.

(Hearst was the company whose founder, William Randolph Hearst, the Orson Welles movie classic, “Citizen Kane,” was based on. I used to walk the halls of the building I worked in whispering, “Rosebud. . . “)

When one of the Presidents of the Cable TV operations, Raymond Joslin, needed a temp because one of his two assistants had to take a few weeks leave, I was called to fill in. I was warned from the outset, “He’s a very demanding boss -- with a very short temper.”

Optimistic to a fault, and philosophical too (this was when I started reading Epictetus, the stoic Greek philosopher, and carried a tiny book of his quotations around with me for inspiration), I took the assignment, knowing it wouldn’t be a piece of cake but probably incredibly interesting. . . 

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