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October 21, 1977
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Published Sunday, October 21, 2012 @ 1:04 PM EDT
Oct 21 2012

Thirty-five years ago today my daughter was born, and I was offered a job that profoundly changed my destiny. It started my career in typesetting, consulting, technical writing, and computer software.

I was hired as a typesetter at a legal/financial printing company because of my future boss' somewhat unconventional interviewing technique. He recited from memory a random lyric from the libretto of Jesus Christ Superstar; I was to respond with the next line. We did this for about ten minutes.

I nailed it.

I don't recall there actually being any typesetting-related questions during the interview. I don't think he even asked if I could type.

The point of all this is to remember Heinlein's admonition: specialization is for insects. While you should be an expert in at least one field, you should learn as much as you can about as many things as you can. Arcane knowledge can be useful, even though its acquisition can seem pointless. That funny-looking key you picked up a few years ago might eventually unlock a door leading to a totally unexpected opportunity.

PS: If I hadn't been familiar with Superstar, the next category would have been Star Trek.

Even a pragmatic humanist cannot deny destiny.

PPS: I really owe Tim Rice a nice thank you card.


Categories: Jesus Christ Superstar, KGB, KGB Family, Robert A. Heinlein, Star Trek, Tim Rice


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