Fifteen years!

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….