Today, I stopped at the ATM machine on the first floor of my building at work.
Usually, it sucks my card right in. Today, it started "nibbling" on it -- taking in, maybe, a quarter-of-an-inch of it at a time until it was finally all the way in. Then it just sat there. I pressed cancel.
I started over. Again, the same munching. This time it got all the way, but would not accept any commands. Not even the cancel button worked.
This got me to thinking about the reliability of ATM machines. I don't know in what year these machines became so ubiquitous, but I feel certain I've been using them for over 10 years now. So that means, it's probably been 15.
This is the first time, in probably thousands of transactions, that I've ever had my card eaten just because the machine malfunctioned.
A few weeks ago, I submitted a request for a one-year "Educational Leave of Absence" from IBM, which eventually evolved into a "Personal Work Leave of Absence," which has just been approved.
[Note: This cartoon is being displayed from its original source at http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/mba0295l.jpg]
This means that beginning Tuesday, May 9, I will be working at IBM only 16 hours a week -- two 8-hour days, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
And I'll be doing technical editing instead of process compliance work, which will be a nice change. I
I plan to use the extra time to accelerate completion of my master's degree and have pretty much decided to enroll in the PhD program in the Fall of 2007.
I can't wait until May.