There is only one type of story in the world. Your story. — Ray Bradbury, Zen and the Art of Writing
I arrived in Seattle with a recession and for the first two and a half years I worked through a temp agency, mostly in law firms. Eventually I got a permanent job with an insurance company and a year after that I started working with the English as a Second Language Program at the University of Washington. I was obviously still drawn to foreign languages and cultures in some way, though I worked as an administrator in the main office of the program. I also thought that being in a university environment might allow me to return to school to get an advanced degree, though that never happened.
However, while working in the ESL office, I was first introduced to computers. The guy in charge of testing taught me how to use a database and word-processor on a double-floppy Kaypro II Portable where he kept all the test results and course assignments. The operating system was CP/M and the programs were WordStar and dBase: application disk in the A: drive and data disk in the B: drive.
After moving to a new building on campus one year, we discovered a Tandy TRS-80 Model 6000 in the cupboard. It came with a manual and so I fired it up and taught myself how to program in Profile (filePro). The operating system was Xenix (Microsoft’s version of Unix); Scripsit was the WP program. The system had two hard disks (25MB combined) and several “dumb” terminals for networking. Soon we were registering students and creating class schedules on systems I had developed.
After a few years, I moved into the private sector, working for a small PC company which assembled its own IBM compatibles. That was my first introduction to DOS and Windows (3.0).
I think the reason I took to programming and in particular database design is related to my love of languages and my love of organising and cataloguing. (I had worked in the library during my Princeton years).