Aged 11, late on a Tuesday night, and into the morning, I watched my dad run the payroll for the civil engineering firm he worked for.
I learned two things on that ‘take your daughter to work’ evening.
First, that computing wasn’t scary or even difficult, and the interesting bits were the bits the men did. Second, how fairness trumped everything for my dad.
My dad did this weekly overnight run for years, on his own. Not because it was scheduled that way, but because his peers always gave him the information late.
But no matter how late the inputs came in, the output was the men’s pay packets, and they needed them on Thursday morning, come what may. And as data processing manager, my dad saw at as his responsibility to make sure that happened, come what may.
Now of course, I question some of this. What did he do to try and improve the schedule? Did the company see him as a mug? But still I think of his favourite question – “What would be fair?”