What was your first job?
I have worked as far back as I can remember. Evenings, weekends, and summers, in more-or-less chronological order, I shoveled snow, mowed lawns, wrapped and boxed electrical tape, babysat, bussed tables,
washed dishes, waited tables at a deli (yum), made sandwiches, sold Fuller brushes and Great Books of the Western World, worked as a plumber's assistant, and programmed computers (in the early 1970s
that was a very different proposition than it is today). At college, for work-study, I served food, worked in the college bakery (one of my favorites), maintained the undergraduate physics laboratories, and
tutored football players in the subtleties of calculus. My first "real" job was at a small company in Cambridge, MA by the name of "American Science and Engineering." Best known for their airport
x-ray machines, they were responsible at the time for data analysis from the first ever X-ray astronomy satellite, Small Astronomy Satellite 1, nicknamed Uhuru (freedom) after its launch in Kenya, .
Uhura was a landmark in x-ray astronomy, discovering many of the celestial objects that led to our understanding of phenomena like black holes and neutron stars. I was first part of a team responsible
for processing box after box of magnetic data tapes. While the results were tremendously exciting, the work itself was boring. But I was soon transferred to a job more to my liking, involving development and testing of new instruments for future missions.