How was my first job?
I’ll start with the end, about how Louis’s company looked a year and a half after he hired me when I resigned to go to JOB 2 in Canada.
The company had 11 permanent employees and two paid by the hour (those guys were paid for one hour as much as my salary for a month, and rightfully so, because they brought the business). The company had firm contracts with hospitals and doctor’s offices and a very (a whole page very) lucrative one with pharmaceutical giant Glaxo. Louis paid off his bank debt and began repaying the government the 2 million he received three years earlier.
The ones who pulled him out of his shit were Lin and me, with considerable help from Lili, who did the quality control of the applications we were developing in Delphi. Tony’s C++ application slowly fell out of favor until it was no longer used, and Tony had to go.
Of the 13 who worked for Louis, only 2 were Quebecois, Louis (the owner), and Lili (the secretary), who were the nicest in that museum of Italians, Irish, Eastern Europeans, and the 2 English guys (those paid monstrously well).
And now about the start of work at Louis’s company, which was as clear as mud...
That’s how my conversation with Lin went on my first day at work. I asked him how long he has been working in the company.
Since we both had to know C++ and Delphi, my first questions could only be, “Do you know C++?”
“Do you know Delphi?”
“How do we tell Louis this?” I asked with wide-open eyes.
I was wondering if Louis’s idea of hiring people with academic achievements (not experienced developers) was good. I had a course at a college in Montreal (that had nothing to do with C++ and Delphi) and a Chinese with a PhD in paleontology.
“Shut up and do what you can,” said Lin. “For now, Louis relies on Tony’s app.”
The idea was simple. We needed to transfer the data from Tony’s application (his database was Access) to the one we were supposed to use with Delphi, Interbase. Then, with the Lili’s help (who was showing us the screens from Tony’s app) do the same in Delphi without having to understand his C++ code. It was as if we had stolen his idea, but in fact, that was what was required of us.
It took me a week to put a button and a textbox on the screen in which to bring data from the database by pressing the button. Once I understood how a Delphi application communicates with the database, everything started to flow like I was born with Delphi in my blood, genetically programmed to write applications.
A word about Lili. She graduated from theater arts school, but she told me that she did not look for roles in theater or film because she would have had to prostitute herself for even minor roles. So, she ended up being Louis’ secretary. At the company, she proved to be very useful, not only as a secretary and quality controller but also as the voice for the spoken part of the application because the questionnaire for asthma patients could also be completed on the phone, not just on the computer. Lili had a habit that puzzled me. Every time I finished another part of the application, he would hug me (and he had a prominent chest) and I would sit stiff as a dry stick, red as a beet, because I didn’t know what to do. My foolishness amused her greatly. Anyway, Lili, Lin, and I built a solid application.
With the signing of new contracts, the team increased with technical support, new developers, and analysts who knew the medical environment and told us exactly what needed to be done.
Louis was moved to tears, and his hands shook as he put his hand to the keyboard. Sometimes he would pull me aside, put his hands on his bald head, and say in a trembling voice, “I don’t know if I can handle this phenomenal growth.”
Louis wanted us to be friends. He invited me to his house and told me to bring my oldest boy, 12 years old because he also had a boy of the same age. But my boy solved the visiting problem in less than an hour when he punched Louis’ boy in the mouth.
On the way home, my boy told me that Louis’s boy deserved to be punched for being cocky and arogant.
The visits stopped, but Louis spoiled me by raising my salary every few months. However, the starting salary was very low, just a little above the living wage, as was welfare.
At some point, Louis hired Bruno to help him manage the company. Bruno was an adventurer, smart, ambitious, knew administration, business, programming, and had a lot of money. He put enough money on Louis’ table with the deal to be partners. I got on well with Bruno, but I didn’t know what was in his head.
A short time later, another business partner appeared, who had previously been a vice president at a multinational.
I understood that it was time to leave, and I will explain in the next post why, and what happened in the end with Louis’s company.
How did my first job end:
Where it all started: