THE WAY I REMEMBER IT
It was the worst of days, and it was the best of days - at least it was a little out of the ordinary. After graduating from UT Austin in January of 1950, I grappled with several jobs, and in 1953 wound up as the Director of Information for the Texas Association of Soil Conservation Supervisors in Temple. That meant that my main job was to sell subscriptions to their really fine publication, Soil and Water.
The magazine, in fact, was so fine that I felt it could be used in the classrooms of our public schools. I developed "teaching units", and had taken my idea to the Texas Education Agency. They liked it to the extent that they asked me to bring it back and present it to the famed Textbook Committee.
This brings me to the hot day in summer when I came to make the presentation. I had arrived early, and had one other stop to make in downtown Austin. This left me with a couple of hours of time to waste. I got a bite to eat, wandered around a little, bought a paper, and went back to the car. I glanced through the items of interest in the paper, and started browsing the classified ads.
It was here that I saw an ad looking for an "association executive," placed by an employment agency whose address happened to be right beside my car. I reasoned that the office should be air conditioned, and that I could talk about associations, so I went in to cool off.
No, I told the receptionist, I didn't have an appointment, but she said she would talk to Mr. Tarrant to ask if he could see me. I wasn't very well dressed for a job interview since I was wearing a sport shirt - which all the people up at the Education Agency did since they had no air conditioning.
Mr. Tarrant did see me, and was grossly unimpressed, which really didn't matter since I wasn't looking for a job. But after we talked for a few minutes, and he learned a little more about what I was doing, he perked up, and asked for my resume. Of course, I didn't have one, but he urged that I send him one as soon as I returned to Temple.
When I got home that evening, I told Helen about the "experience." She said, "Well, let's send them a resume." I told her I didn't have one, but she reminded me that I had one when I was getting out of the university and that we could update it. So she did, and we sent it.
So began my twenty-nine year career at the Austin Chamber of Commerce all because I wanted to cool off one day.
Vic Mathias - August 19,2003