King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, October 26

Careering off course

Mr Vassell, the strangely camp music teacher and supposed career officer at the school called me into his office.
"We need to sort you out a placement for your work experience. What would you like to do?"
"Anything with computers" was the unsurprising reply.
"Do you want Anything or do you know what you're doing?"
"I know what I'm doing," came the cocky reply, "I want a proper job."

I was handed a slip of paper giving the name of a company in the centre of Croydon. Chrysalis Computer Services was a very professional sounding outfit. Run by two partners, to this day I don't know what they did. They had Steve, a salesman who was all aftershave and Burton's suit, and Madeline, the bimbo on the front desk. I went in a week early to introduce myself. They asked about what they'd have to do, and what I was expected to do. Most interestingly was the fact I was told "Don't turn up if you don't want to. We'll just say you're out on an errand." Tempting as it was, and with my track record for taking days off, amazingly I actually decided to turn up every day for the next week. I realised that maybe, if I played my cards right, I could get a real job out of it that would run after I left school in 6 months or so.
The following Monday (and only 4 days after the chaos caused by the Great storm of 1987) saw me report for duty with Steve, the salesman. Our first task was to make tea and coffee, and after an hour of bacon buttie and sitting around chatting, the two bosses appeared.
"What should you do?" they asked.
"I dunno," I replied. "How about something computer related?"
"I know," said one of them, "what about you format these new disks for me." And he hands me a fresh box of 5.25" floppies, in need of formatting.
It is at this point that I should point out I know how run That was my sum total of experience of MS-DOS. I had an inkling of what to do, but not how to do. So, in the corner of the big boss's office, I sit down at his behemoth Apricot PC, insert a newly unwrapped disk into the drive, and type Format.
"This will format the disk in drive c:. Are you sure? (Y/N)"

Yes. Yes, I did. After 20 minutes, and much chugging from the antiquated drive inside the pc, which was now reporting "27% done" I ask "should it take this long?" The big boss takes one look at the screen, and starts to cry.
The other boss says "You haven't... That was over 9 years worth of work on there. This isn't good."
He was, of course, right. Realising I shouldn't be left unsupervised, they then get me to complete the task with a boot floppy. I get relegated to the front desk for the rest of the week with the young bimbo Madeline. By the end of the week, I'd learned to make tea and coffee, been shown the stash of their playboy magazines, and done a lot of typing. I had not, however, done much else on the PC.
I returned a year and they confirmed they still hadn't recovered fully from my faux pas. Another year later and another revisit showed they no longer existed. I'd like to say they were a victim of the 1990 recession, but I suspect my little mishap with all their customer's data going missing hadn't helped.
Start as I mean to go on?