My first day at work, according to the EMC HR department, was January 7, 1996. Fifteen years ago today. I think the date is wrong, since that day is a Sunday. But the week is certainly right.
I remember the day very well … because it was my first day of “real work,” and it was a snow day.
Without any real working-from-home infrastructure to speak of, I didn’t get an email about this at work, and I didn’t spend the day online from home. I got up in the morning and checked the news, and it was listed that our Westboro and Southboro facilities were closed to nonessential personnel. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that again since then – but I know I thoroughly enjoyed having my first day as a salaried employee being spent inside watching the snow pile up. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but being paid to watch it snow is a pretty good deal, especially at 22…).
At the time, of course, I wasn’t working for EMC. I had never heard of EMC. I was working for Data General. I was still a graduate student at WPI; I had completed one semester as a Teaching Assistant, and took the job and did the rest of my coursework part-time. My classmates and professors thought I was mad – the future was not minicomputers; why would I go to work for a dead-end place like DG? They weren’t pushing for EMC either of course; they were excited about the Internet, they were excited about consulting companies, about MathWorks, and so on. The future wasn’t on 495, it was inside 128.
Well, I was happy on 495. I was thrilled to be part of the CLARiiON team.
Turns out it was a good plan!
A lot has changed in 15 years. A lot has changed in the overall industry, in the Massachusetts tech scene, and certainly here at EMC (and DG!). I had high hopes of putting together a post full of things that are different now than they were in 1996, but frankly I don’t know where to start, and I’ve spent the last few nights working on “real work” (now that’s a change from 15 years back!) and couldn’t really do the necessary research.
But I will share the closest press release I could find to my joining date: this one, from DG . It announced the joint creation of a 2.5 terabyte DSS in Tokyo. 2.5 TB … the amount of disk space I have on my desk. About a month after I joined, DG announced a new disk array with capacity of 84 GB per chassis. The Blu-Ray XL format, standardized last year, puts more than that on a single optical disk.
A lot more than just capacity numbers has changed. The name of the corporation that pays the bills, the technology I use every day, the way I manage my work/life balance, my career goals … all are a lot different than what I signed up for when I took that job offer. But what hasn’t changed is that I come in every day challenged by exciting problems, and I try to leave every day knowing I helped my co-workers to solve those problems in a good way. There are worse ways to make a living … much worse.
Thanks EMC, thanks DG, thanks to the crew that hired me (you know who you are), many of whom are still here — and many thanks to all the people I’ve worked with since then. And I couldn’t do it without the loving support of my family; I love my job, but coming home every day is what makes it all worthwhile.
I wonder what I’ll be looking back on in 2026….