Douglas Peruski: A Serious Downside

Douglas Peruski is an aspiring actor who currently lives in Duluth, Georgia. He quit a good job as a systems analyst at NCR after three years because he said it was making him unhappy, and preventing him from pursuing his true calling as an actor. Douglas Peruski says quitting his job at NCR was the right thing for him to do at that point in his life. “Sometimes I still miss that big paycheck. But that job had a serious downside.”

Looking back on it now, Douglas Peruski insists he has no regrets. “My first two or three months there were pretty good,” he recalls. “I spent most of my time talking to users to help me understand the business. I also talked to other analysts to make sure there was compatibility between subsystems. After that I was doing a lot of design work, and creating documentation for these designs, including reports, input forms, and programming specifications. That’s when it started getting pretty deadly. But I was paid really well, so I found it easy to put up with.”

Douglas Peruski

Douglas Peruski

Douglas Peruski says he got some on-the-job training to supplement the skills he learned in college. “I coded some of the programs myself, in COBOL and PL/1. I learned how to test systems and how to implement them. I did some technical writing by documenting new systems, including technical documentation and user documentation. But God, it was boring! The only thing I really like about those three years was making friends with all the other analysts, and learning all the time about the business and the technology.”

The turning point came when NCR sent him to train clients in Des Moines, Iowa. “I had to give a speech. And you know what? Being in front of an audience like that reminded me how much I missed theatre. It was no substitute, though. So I decided to quit and do what really wanted to do – act.”

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