17 Jan 2013

Summer Job

My first job had nothing to do with medicine.

After the certificate examination, I decided to see more of the world by finding a summer job. I thought, “If I want memorable experience anyway, why don’t I go for the extreme?” Therefore, I went to a toy manufacturing company and asked for a job as a storekeeper.

The personnel manager was shocked. “Are you aware that this post involves moving really heavy objects?” I nodded timidly, more like Piglet than Hercules. Obviously, we had different views on really heavy objects. That said, the lady was very kind and offered me a job as a junior clerk instead.

My assignment turned out to be very religious. The Korean Church wanted a music box that could play all 600 songs in their hymn book. Readers with iPods would probably find it trivial. Back then, however, computer chips were quite rudimentary. Even the hard disk of my desktop computer had a smaller memory than any USB nowadays. If we recorded everything liberally, the music box would have to be bigger than a piano, hardly something the Church would buy.

Instead, my job was to translate the songs into computer language. Each song had four parts. Apart from playing all parts together, the program could also play only one part in case a choir wished to practise. The job was fun. With some tricks, I solved the problem of playing triplets (8 and 16 could not be divided by 3) and tempo change. I also figured out that if I recorded cymbals in place of organ as the basic tone, voila, we could even have percussions.

Soon, my summer holidays ended and I went back to school as usual. To my surprise, my former boss called me a few months later.

(To be continued)

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