Take this job and shove it! (O/T)


I was reminded, earlier today while working on Valentin's latest challenge, of a personal "you can stick your job" story. The background is not relevant but I left, rather noisily, leaving behind a cubicle bookshelf full of my books--among them a boxed set of TAOCP and Numerical Recipes in C. Being perverse, this caused me to wonder how many of you might have left something of value--like a calculator (obligatory forum reference)--behind when you "took your cards".




Hi Cameron,

I never had a bad leaving from a job, but do remember a memorable exit from a college class. This was a History of Mathemathics course and the instructor had told the class to skip one complete section in the book - since he wouldn't be covering that material.

Final exam came - and you guessed it - over three-fourths of the test was on the omitted section. I remember answering the two questions I knew, then writting an obscenity in big letters across the exam paper, turning the paper in almost before the instructor had completely passed them out, storming out of the class and throwing the textbook in the metal trash can on the way out. It made quite a noise.

The instructor called me the next day at work to inform me that he was tossing out the final exam. Seems that the entire class was busy pointing out their notes to him where he said to disregard that section. So I got my 'A' in the course.

I never regretted storming out of the test session, BUT have regretted the tossing away of the text book. It was a very well written history of mathematics and have wished many time that I still had it.



You could probably retrieve a copy of the textbook for not much money at abebooks.com -- if you can remember the name of the author. Howard Eves perhaps (University of Maine), or Carl Boyer (Brooklyn College)?

A great story in any case.

Cheers, Tom


Thanks Tom.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the Author's name - just that I enjoyed reading the book at the time. I'm really glad the instructor was a very fair person, since I would have flunked the couse - the final counted for over half the grade.

Although, I can't recall the Author's name, I can tell you the full name of the instructor. I had several math courses with him and enjoyed them all.



I have left jobs similar to you but not something of value. In another word, yeah "Take this job and shove it! but not my HP calc".


Never left former workplaces in a huff, but I did leave a prior employer/coworkers with my Casio CM150 "Computer Math Calc".

Many moons ago I used to reverse engineer engine-control firmware for what was essentially a high-tech 'speed shop'.
After lotsa logic analyzer work & disassembly I'd eventually figure what to hack, and create script files that would allow the engine/transmission tuning guys to enter their spark, fuel, shift point, etc. curves. But sometimes tuning was done out in the field (race track, freeway, etc.) - so the guys would carry an EPROM burner in the car and a printed list of addresses to tweak. Since these guys didn't think in hex (though one or two finally 'got it') my little Casio calc was quite helpful for them to do hex addition and hex<=>decimal interconversions.

Wish I had it back. For those of you that might remember, the CM150 calc was available in mid-1980s, was solar powered, and came in a 'kit' with a tutorial manual (as opposed to usual folded pamphlet accompanying most Casio calcs.) This calc was a four-banger (prob. had percent and square root and maybe 1/X too, can't remember) plus base conversion/operation in Dec/Hex/Bin/Oct. Various And/Or/Xor/etc. logical ops could be performed and word size could be selected. The KB layout was just great, with the A-F keys for hex immediately above the numeric keys, and these A-F keys did not need to be used in a shifted mode. Hopping between bases did not require shifted functions, etc.

(In fact - HORRORS!! - for some things I liked it a tad better than my HP16C, and it didn't even have RPN :(.)

Anyway if I ever see another CM150 I'm gonna snap it up.
Other sci. calcs that have "computer math" modes have poor use of A-F keys for hex, switching btwn bases is not as easy, etc.

Bill Wiese
San Jose CA


It was CM150 or CM100?

I found this with Google...

Best regards,



Hi Nelson...

Yep, that's the pic - a CM100. It's been about 10 years so my mind was foggy....

Anyway, great little calc..

Bill W

San Jose CA


I left a business calclulator's instruction book at a CPA firm I was working for. I was being let go for "lack of business" only after a month. Unfornately, I remember I left my book only after cleaning my room several months later.


Fortunately I have not, either intentionally or unintentionally, left behind something of value like a calculator or books while leaving a job. However, I did benefit greatly from another person’s loss (or oversight) a few years ago.

In the year 2000 I was an engineer designing turbine blades for a large US company. This company had already performed several massacres (i.e. “reductions in force”) on its engineers, and then had decided to move its remaining engineers to another state. I was one of the last guys left in the old office area, and while still working there I got to see the demolition workers beginning to dismantle the old desks, cubicles, and bookshelf walls and tossing things into a pile at the other end of the office.

At the time I had never used, nor did I care for, any of HP’s calculators. To me they were those overpriced calculators that I would sometimes see others using, with that dumb (or so I thought) “backwards Polish whatever” way of entering calculations. Nonetheless, while taking a shortcut through the wreckage on my way to my desk at the back of the building, I spotted a glint of something shiny along with a few keypad buttons in a pile of dismantled bookshelves, broken drywall dust, and discarded engineering notebooks. I recognized it as one of those thin, horizontal-layout HP calculators I had sometimes seen around the office. It had apparently fallen down between bookshelves quite sometime ago, and looked like it had many years (about ¼”!) of dust and lint on it. I wiped off the display and most of the keys, pressed the “ON” key, and “0.0000” came up dimly on the LCD.

Whatever this calculator was, I knew that whoever had owned it before had put it through a hell of a lot of use. All the corners of the once sand-textured plastic case had been worn down to a well-rounded gloss by years of handling. The keys had also been polished to a high gloss by many years of finger keystrokes but were still perfectly readable (the miracle of double-shot keys). The aluminum bezel around the LCD was dented and deeply scratched in many places, and the corner next to the logo location was peeling up away from the case. The logo itself was long gone. The four rubber feet were also gone, and apparently had been lost for many years, since the aluminum label on the back of the unit had been rubbing directly on desktops for so long that the writing had been completely worn off, leaving just a shiny & scratched aluminum plate. Even the three little ribs on the battery door had been completely worn off.

Anyway, although it was one of those “weird” HP calculators, I figured I might as well try to find out more about it, so I got on the web to search for info. It was then that I first saw this HP Museum web site. After comparing pictures I learned that I had found an old HP-15C. I replaced the batteries & performed the self-tests described in the web pages, and everything came up OK. So, even though it was worn & ugly, it was still perfectly functional. The serial number indicated that it was one of the earliest USA Voyager units, with a date code from late 1982.

Today I realize just how lucky I was, but at the time I still didn’t appreciate what I had found. To me it was just an old oddball calculator. I learned basic RPN from this web site, and used the calculator for some basic calculations, but many of its functions were still a mystery to me. Then I got lucky again, because in a used book shop I found a nearly-mint spiral bound copy of the HP 15C User’s Manual, and of the Advanced Functions Manual, for about $5 each (apparently they didn’t know the value of what they had either).

That was when I really began to learn how to really use its capabilities, and I began to appreciate what a gem this little calculator really was. I now keep it secure in a drawer, and I use it sparingly, not because I don’t like it, but because I consider it irreplaceable. I bring it out when I need to do some heavy duty calculations, or run some special little programs for certain equations. The rest of the time I use a cheaper calculator.

Anyway, that’s how someone else’s loss was my gain. Or maybe a curse! Because now I can’t stand to do any calculations on algebraic calculators, and prefer RPN. But RPN is rapidly becoming extinct! Maybe ignorance was truly bliss. Either way, I will try to keep this old HP-15C as long as I can.


Fortunately, I haven't been in that situation, but I usually try to stay prepared. Having survived 4 rounds of layoffs at work, I just keep all my stuff in my backpack, so if I do leave, I have everything with me. People at work are cool, but through the years, I've learned (unfortunately) it is best not to trust people. I usually never leave any "personal" items at work.

I also learned, about a year ago, when I wanted to buy a RPN business calc., that HP no longer makes them anymore, except the 12C. Anyways, good thing there is eBay. I got both the 17Bii and 12C. Since then, I've found my old 27S and 42S. I take better care of them now. =)


Thanks for your entertaining essay. Please think about placing it in the "HP Meomories Forum" so that it doesn't get "lost" in the messages archive.



A scientist leaving work (RIF?) left a beat-up Timex Ironman watch in his desk. It needed its band replaced, but WalMart had one that fit.

That watch is SO accurate, when I set it to NIST or WWV
it won't lose 2 seconds a month! And if I don't use the
light, (incandescent) the battery lasts for years.

But my wife didn't want me wearing a beat up watch so she bought me a Timex Ironman DataLink for my birthday a few years ago. Now it is beat up, and it loses 10 or more seconds a month. The (original) beat up watch is sitting in a drawer at home (sigh!)


I left for medical reasons, so maybe this memory doesn't count, but I once left a dictionary. Not just any dictionary, though. It was the Oxford English Dictionary, the OED, which comes in about 24 full-size volumes, and probably costs over $2000 or so. My copy was the compact edition, in which they reduce four normal-sized pages into one compact page, so the dictionary will fit into just two volumes. (Strange math, I know.) I had gotten it for free from the Book of the Month Club, when they were closing out Oxford's stock of Version Ones in preparation for the introduction of Version Two (first major revision since 1923), but its loss still stung me. Ouch!


Edited: 8 July 2004, 6:09 p.m.


While I have never accidently left anything behind (that I know of), twice I have intentionally left behind my copy of a JOVIAL J73 manual, never expecting to need it again. A few weeks into the next job, I'd call my former coworkers and ask them to forward the manual to me because I needed it. The manual has seen a lot of use through the years and the pages are now yellowing.

I will most certainly be taking that manual with me to my next job whenever and whatever it may be.

And, there is are two morals to this story. One, don't burn bridges with your former employer or coworkers. Two, don't throw anything out.

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  OT: HP job cuts Ethan Conner 28 6,690 05-20-2012, 12:57 PM
Last Post: Nick R
  Paint job (not for a car but for my 25C) Matt Agajanian 0 747 04-02-2012, 04:20 PM
Last Post: Matt Agajanian
  Sad repair job on HP48 Han 6 1,807 09-26-2010, 11:17 AM
Last Post: db (martinez, ca.)
  New chief prepares for job cuts at HP Juergen (CH) 9 2,262 06-22-2005, 11:03 PM
Last Post: Eddie Shore
  HP42S paint job David E 3 1,253 04-01-2003, 12:40 AM
Last Post: Paul Brogger
  HP-67 card reader Clutch BAD JOB Michel Beaulieu 5 1,528 03-23-2003, 11:18 PM
Last Post: Malcolm Brooks
  Joe: You did a great job! Glynn R Harris 3 1,178 09-06-2000, 01:28 AM
Last Post: Glynn

Forum Jump: