First-Hand:A Career with IBM

Submitted by Joe Zauchner

In 1956, I got a job with IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York. This was the best thing that ever happened to me. I started as an electronics technician. After one year, I was promoted to lab specialist; in 1964, to professional engineer; and in 1967, to staff engineer. All the time I worked for IBM, I was very involved with measurements and measurement techniques. I also worked on logic and memory circuit design, but measurements became my specialty.

At IBM it was possible, though not always easy, to work up to professional status without a college degree. I took many of their evening courses. Performance at work, however, was the critical parameter. I had the good fortune to have good managers who were not afraid to give me meaningful assignments.

Not all managers were willing to do this and so I found myself at odds with some of them. Fortunately, IBM policy afforded good protection against incompetent managers and my stay with them never lasted too long. They were probably just as glad to get rid of me as I was of them. Once established, I worked mostly with Ph.D.'s whom I found easy to work with. The time I worked at IBM was easily the best part of my working years.

I did not enjoy being forced to retire at 65, but at that time it was IBM policy. It was probably a good idea. I found a worthwhile endeavor. I have been teaching electronics as a volunteer at a local high school for twelve years. I still get help from IBM, which is very valuable.