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Chapter 4: Early Career

Trivia

Opening Quote  

So what I Buddha never said that "Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it." It's good advice ;-)

Failed Projects before iText

These are the original slides of my presentation "4 Failures and 1 Hit":

First Employer

My first employer was TRASYS (but ownership of the company changed since I left).

"Database Underground Flanders" still exists: Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen.
This is a publication by TRASYS about the project:
Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen
Heidi De Maeyer was the project leader and functional analyst; Erwin Van Hees was the developer; I was the technical analyst and developer.

Second Employer

My second employer was The Reference. Ownership of this company has changed many times since I left.

Third Employer

This is the paper I wrote while working for my third employer (TRASYS again; I was outsourced to the Ministry of the Flemish Community):
Research Paper GIS

Fourth Employer

This is the original job advertisement for my Job at my fourth employer, Ghent University:
Job Advertisement Ghent University
The year salary was nice: between 1.047.141 and 1.561.808 Belgian francs (depending on your anciennity).
That's between €26,178 / $31,413 and €39.045 / $111,654. I started at 1,097,353 Belgian francs (€27,434 / $32,921).
Knowledge of UNIX, C, and Perl was mandatory.

When I applied for the job at Ghent University, I had sufficent experience with C, some experience with UNIX, and no experience with Perl. Before the job interview, I bought a book about Perl, and read it in one weekend.
Perl 5 Interactive Course

First Jobs: Salary

While doing research for my book, I dug up my old contracts, and I looked at the gross salary I was paid for my first jobs:

Evolution of my Salary (Early Career)
Company Start date Belgian francs Euro/month Dollar/month
TRASYS (Argius) April 1997 75,212 BEF / month €1,880 $2,256
The Reference November 1997 80,000 BEF / month €2,000 $2,400
TRASYS February 1998 85,913 BEF / month €2,148 $2,578
Ghent University November 1998 1,097,353 BEF / year ~€2,286 ~$2,743

Take into account that the personal income tax in Belgium is quite high (somewhere between 40 and 50 percent) and that I didn't take the inflation into account when converting Belgian francs to euro and dollar.

Cat@loogje.com

The website startpagina.nl, created by Durk Jan de Bruin, still exists and it still has that late nineties internet look.

My cat@loogje.com died a silent death. Google didn't exist yet, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can find an archived version :
screenshot cat@loogje.com website 2001 screenshot cat@loogje.com website 2001

Book Quotes  

  • A software expert is a developer with a manual.
  • Envy is never a good reason to start a business, and it’s stupid to try to copy someone’s idea if you can’t add value to the original concept.

Movie References  

The first paragraph has a reference to the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

Buy Four Weddings and a Funeral on Amazon .com / .co.uk / .es / .it / .fr / .de

Soundtrack for this Chapter  

I listen to music, but my taste in music is questionable. I've selected a handful of songs for every chapters. Sometimes, there's a link to the chapter, sometimes I just like the song.

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