My Former Computer Science Professor Offers His Two Cents

MURDOCK: Colonel, are you sure he’s not still unbalanced from the war?  We can’t afford to have anyone involved who might crack under pressure in that hell.

TRAUTMAN: Pressure?  Let me just say that Rambo’s the best combat Vet I’ve ever seen.  A pure fighting machine with only a desire, to win a war someone else lost, and if winning means he has to die, he’ll die.  No fear.  No regrets… one more  thing… what you choose to call “Hell”, he calls home.

Today I ran to downtown Brooklyn to have brunch with my former computer science professor and his wife. A little background information about him. My former computer science professor was a professional programmer with private/public sector experience. He worked at several large corporations before working for the city prison system. There he wrote simulation programs and was instrumental in creating an inmate lookup program. The application determines which inmates should share a cell and where they should be placed to minimize the chances they will assault each other, taking into account past history. How depressing is this? Well when your computer program doesn’t work it just crashes. When his computer simulation doesn’t work there might be a stabbing or prison riot.

What I liked most about my professor was he was able to explain technical things in the simplest of terms. That plus he was willing to continue explaining things to you until you got it. I remember the first day we introduced ourselves in class and gave us a little bio. I said that I was taking this class after losing my third job in 2 years because my friend Daryl White said I needed to be more technical and that I had no marketable job skills and that I couldn’t do his current job. Since I felt pride I decided to try to prove to him he was wrong and enrolled in a computer science data structures class.

That battle of pride against Daryl White, motivated me to show up everyday for class, do the work and earn the grade. I remember what one of my classmates said to me on day. He said he really respected me because for someone who had no interest in programming, and is just doing this on a bet from a friend I sure had a lot of motivation. And I was doing better than most people in the class. He said how he liked that I said I was not understanding the material but eventually did better than almost everybody in the class.

He spoke about how he was offered $120K at Bear Stearns but instead took a city job paying $85Ka non-exempt (entitled to overtime pay). He would eventually quit anyways and teach for about $8K a year. Today I asked him what I should do if I am unhappy with my job. My computer science professor’s wife says I should stick out the summer. My professor interrupted and said I should quit immediately.  What he’s been getting at is I’m not young, and need to get myself out of the rut of doing jobs I don’t enjoy and pursuing what I do.

Pride motivates me…it gives me the driving force within to succeed. But sooner or later I need to think about myself and not fighting a battle with pride.

For now: Remember I am a pure fighting machine with only a desire, to succeed at a job someone else failed, and if succeeding means I have to work seven days a week and be hospitalized, I’ll be hospitalized. No fear. No regrets….one more thing what you choose to call “Hell”, I call home.


1 Comment

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One response to “My Former Computer Science Professor Offers His Two Cents

  1. Grover Mannings

    Finally…you get it. That´’s not a criticism, pride motivated me for a long time, too.

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