They Blinded Me With Science
My Dad convinced me of the importance of a good education. He wanted his four sons to have options that he did not have in his life. He had left school in the ninth grade. He didn’t feel that a career in music would be the best way to provide for a family. I entered University to provide a “fall back” in the event that my musical aspirations would not be realized.
The University of Manitoba offered a tour of the computer facility as part of the orientation program for new students. I was entering a general sciences degree with the goal of a graduate degree in Oceanography. The computer science tour mesmerized me. Every graduate student’s work was focusing on how to use this new emerging technology to help people. Most of the projects focused on helping people with temporary or permanent disabilities. Wow! Cool technology and inspiring applications! That seed quickly took root in me.
In my first year at college I discovered that I had very narrow sinus cavities and that a career in Oceanography, which included deep sea diving, would be a very painful one. I learned this first hand as I was certified for scuba diving and had several painful experiences. (It was a good call – – I have since had sinus surgery four times.) The University orientation tour came to mind and I switched my major to computer science.
My passion for music continued and I landed one of four paying jobs at the University Radio Station, CJUM-FM. I worked in radio for several years, eventually working at CKRC-AM and FM 103 in Winnipeg full time while I completed my degree in Computer Science. I’d met my beautiful bride-to-be, Susan. I started thinking about what my Dad had said. Several of my coworkers at the radio station were in their 15th city in as many years. This wasn’t my idea of providing a stable life for my newly planned family. Maybe Dad was right? I decided to flip my vocation and avocation. It was a decision that I wrestled with for years. Was I walking away from my true passion and calling?