S. J. Farthing


Employment - The Early Years

While still at university towards the end of the course I took a part-time job canvassing for a sales company. I needed the money, and although the work was commission only I found I was good at it and earned a lot.

After leaving university I resumed the work with the prospect of becoming a salesman. This was still commission only, but if successful, offered extremely good money. I did indeed do well at this, but the work was stressful, and somewhat ruthless. All sales and marketing is about emphasising certain truths, and hiding others. To put it bluntly, it is a form of deception. I decided to give it up.

Also, although I enjoyed programming, it seemed that working as a programmer at that time would be very dull. Most programming was in COBOL, which I hadn't done and it seemed an obsolescent language and a backward step to learn it. Also programming at that time consisted of writing the program on paper, i.e. sitting at a desk all day. Also I had lost the thread of computer programming and wasn't really organised for that kind of life.

I had bought a house in Bristol, and needed to earn some money. I worked for a short time in the construction industry working with electricians on the installation of cables etc. This was at the WD and HO Wills site which was then being built at Bristol. In fact it provided as good an income as I could expect as a programmer and I found the work enjoyable.

For personal reasons I moved away from Bristol, and back to live temporarily with my parents in Yorkshire. I was now even further from the world of computer programming. I was now interested in Hi-Fi and electronics and here I worked for Rank Radio International at Apperley Bridge on the Leak range of amplifiers. They also made Wharfedale speakers there. I was doing fault finding and repair on the circuit boards which would be later assembled into the complete amplifier. This was very good experience at electronic fault finding at component level. This was the early 70's.

Also in the early 70's I worked on the great North Sea Gas conversion project in Leeds. This demanded new skills in gas technology and began with a five or six week full time course covering all the basic principles and practical skills needed. I enjoyed this work and it was well paid. The work itself was physically demanding due to the sustained activity and workload. I got very fit and quite muscular!

I moved away from living with my parents, and got rented accomodation in Bradford. I was unemployed for a time and took the opportunity to learn about the recently available integrated circuit devices which were now becoming much cheaper and better.

I took a job an electronics service engineer in Bradford. I was interested in electronics and audio, and most of the work consisted of fault-finding and repair of medium priced audio equipment. For a short time I went to work in television servicing.

In 1982 I was dissatisfied with employment opportunities in Yorkshire. I wanted to move away somewhere, and after a couple of fact-finding trips to the South of England decided to move to Southampton.