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Job security and outsourcing


My son Josh
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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My son, Josh, who I just visited in Tampa, was born in 1958 or '59, and he played football for Swarthmore. His mother was about 5 foot 11, so Josh is very tall, although my daughters were not so tall, surprisingly. But he’s 6 foot 2. And he went... he did go through the academic programme very well and went through Trinity College in Hartford and graduated. He got his first degree in marine biology, and that sort of accounts for his interest in water sports. And then later, after he graduated from college, at some point he came to work, he and Stefan... you know, Stefan always, after he came back, never went... he tried to go to college for 1 month, he went to Cheyney, after he got out of the army and Vietnam, and he lasted about a month, he just was not suited to an academic programme. And... but Cheyney was basically a black college, even though it was a state university or something like that, and he said he knew what reverse discrimination was there, to be a minority. He then became a truck mechanic, and eventually he convinced me to get him a Peterbilt truck, and he and Josh drove this truck across country. And it was an ISI truck, we had the idea once that we were going to use this truck to have a... also get a... sell our products in a, you know, like a library on wheels. I don’t think we ever carried that out. So, that’s how Stefan happened to work for us for a while, but... And then Josh came to work for us for a while as a salesman. He worked on the sales force. And even though, if you meet him today he would make a fantastic sales person, he hated it. And eventually he went to a... they had a, Minneapolis Honeywell had a computer school here, do you remember that, that was down on Market Stree, took... kept programming, and then he came to work at ISI and he reported to Phil Sopinsky. I’ll never forget when he came to me, and he was here I don’t know how many months, and he said, 'Listen I’m not making enough money, you’re not paying me enough'. So, I said to him, 'Why are you telling me? You go to your boss and deal with him about it, I’m not going to - this is not a system of nepotism, you know, I didn’t hire you because you’re my son, I hired you because you’re qualified for the job'. He didn’t buy into that, and he said, apparently he went to Phil, and Phil didn’t think he warranted a raise, so he quit and went and found himself a job at Shared Medical. Do you remember that? And when he got to Shared Medical he wasn’t working for them, they were just at the beginning of this big boom in hospital information systems, he wasn’t with them for more than 3 or 4 months when one of their clients, Tampa University Hospital offered him a job. I mean, when I saw him just last week he took me past where they had brought him down and put him up at the Holiday Inn, and he had this wonderful... he had the combination of working in a computer center and also being near water sports which, you know, he does scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, everything. So, it was like he’d found heaven. Well... but at the same time when he was 17 or thereabouts he and I went for flying lessons. That’s when I found out, did you know when you fly one of these old planes they use mechanical brakes, just like a, like an old-fashioned car. When you are taxiing the way you operate the brakes is just like a car. And I had this problem with my, with my injured leg, and I found that I just could not use that brake without, you know, causing the pain to come back, so. He continued taking the lessons, and then the hardest part was not learning how to fly, which is relatively easy, it’s all the weather and the mechanics and the rules and the details, it’s like going to school and having to learn all that stuff, and he ate it up, so. He became a flying fan and passed right away and got his solo licence. And when he got to Tampa he eventually bought his own Cessna. So, when I was down there last weekend he flew us from Stefan’s house in Jacksonville to Tampa to go to stay with him. And as a result of that, even after he worked in the university computer centre in Tampa, he got fed up with the computer business and decided to go back to school and got himself a commercial pilot’s licence. So, when he did it I remember I said, 'Josh, you know, you couldn’t have picked a worse time to be looking for a job as a commercial pilot', because you know... they were laying off all these pilots from all the airlines because there was a glut of them, and besides the Air Force had been turning out all of these guys. Well, he said, 'I don’t care, I’m going... I like flying, that’s what I’m going to do'. So, he went and spent the year and got himself a commercial licence, and then he started working for Mesa Airlines, which is a commuter airline. They actually do the flying and supply the pilots for US Air and these other commuter airlines. He worked for them for a while, and then a friend of his got him this job with this timeshare company, which is what he does now. So, every time he calls me up, every few days, he’s in a different place every day, flies around executives and the movie stars and what have you; they all each buy a piece of the plane. The reason all that is significant is that neither Stefan, Josh nor any of my other kids really were interested in the company. I mean, maybe if they had been, things would have gone a little differently, I would have felt well, let’s let one of them take over, but that’s the way it was. So, I have no regret about that. For a while I thought Josh might be interested, but he’s a very different guy; he’s interested more in football, I think, than he is in information science.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 7 minutes, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009