I have never striven for 0% turnover in the departments I manage. I think it is great for new people to enter our organization and bring new ideas and renewed energy. I also think it is good for people to be exposed to different careers, especially when they are young. So, when someone announces their departure I usually accept the news in good spirit. This time was different.
Sue announced that she will be retiring from Affinity Health System in June. She was employee number 2 in the Information Technology department (back then it was data processing). This was several years before we had our first computer. Instead, Sue was responsible for organizing key punch jobs that were sent to a mainframe computer that was shared by several hospitals.
Sue has always kept meticulous records. I always found it ironic that someone with this much IT experience loved her paper records. I suspect she has seen a lot of computer disasters. As proof of this behavior, I submit to you this:
This is the letterhead from Sue’s offer letter which is still in her files. Did you notice the date? I would encourage you to click on the image so you can see the entire offer letter. It includes an attempt to phototcopy a picture of the equipment (graphical printing did not exist). There are some precious historical references here, including:
- Sue’s starting salary was $2.25 per hour (she makes more now)
- Sue’s supervisor felt compelled to explain the function of a CRT
- The Data Processing department consisted of the following state-of-the art hardware:
- Control Data Corporation (CDC) 200 User Terminal
- (2) IBM 1050 Data Terminals
- (2) 029 Key punch machines
Sue, thanks for your years of service. Your willingness to keep learning has allowed you to adapt to multiple generations of technology. More importantly, you have touched many lives, including a lot of patients you never got to meet. Enjoy your much deserved retirement.