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Off Unemployment. At Last! Again...


Damn, this has been too long in coming.

Finally, after more than six months with nothing coming in but curiousity and frustrations, I've landed new work.

I just started a job as a temporary employee at Cymer.

This time - for the first time in over a year and a half - it's a company here in California.

This time - for over three years - it's a company in San Diego, even.

This time it's also a job that pays me only about what I was making about eight years ago - if not loger ago.

This time - like the last time - I exhausted the funds in my unemployment claim before a new job came in.

This is however, a job.  A real job.  One that pays more than unemployment.

This is also a company and a job that has great potential.

It's a temp gig and only three months, officially, at that.

But, Cymer is growing like gangbusters and they're doing an awful lot of hiring from the temps they bring on.  They've also made it abundantly clear that they desperately need scheduling professionals on their team.  All of which bodes well for me!

Prior to my interviewing with these guys I'd never heard of Cymer before.

No surprise that, as Cymer doesn't sell anything to the general public.  They're a half a billion dollar a year company that sells lightsources to the semiconductor manufacturing industry.  Sounds sexy, eh?  But, odds on, any bit of electronics you own - from your PC to your cellphone to your microwave to your alarm clock - is there as a result of a Cymer tool.

Cymer got its start back in '86 by two very bright guys who'd tired of working in Defense and wanted to make some money with their skills in working with lasers.  They started Cymer and soon drove their company to own about 70% of the market in providing the light sources used in the photo-lithographic process used to print the circuit pattern on the wafers of silicon that eventually become computer chips.  Cymer doesn't make the chips, they make a tool which the chip makers use to make their chips.  In particular, Cymer uses excimer (hence the name - Cymer) lasers to zap droplets of tin which then produce light in wavelengths that are exceptionally short.  The shorter the light wavelength, the smaller and closer the circuit patterns can be rendered on the "photo-resist" layer applied on the silicon wafers.  Once that layer has been exposed to the Cymer laser enduced light source, the wafers are run through an acid bath which disolves away the portions of the wafer not protected by the exposed parts of that photo-resist layer.

The wafers are then run through another process which strips the remaining photo-resist bits and deposits copper or gold in the microscopic channels left behind - thus creating the circuits on the chip surface.

No, it's not very dramatic to describe and only slightly more so to watch happen.  But, this process is at the heart of what our civilization is now based on.  And Cymer produces the light source tool which most of the chip makers in the world use to make their chips.

What got me on to this job though, is a new venture by Cymer - TCZ.  That stands for "Team Cymer Zeiss" and was a joint venture between them and the Zeiss Company out of Germany.  Cymer sought for a new way to apply its skills with lasers.  This time to use a laser beam to anneal the surface of a flat panel display.  Annealing recrystalizes the display panel surface thereby making it more durable and sharper in its image capabilities.  Traditional annealing involves putting the panel into an oven and heating the whole thing up.  Aside from taking longer, it also means that the new technology of plastic OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) can not be annealed as that would melt the plastic.

With the TCZ laser process however, that annealing can take place with such speed that only the very surface of the panel is heated.  Just enough to anneal it, recrystalize it and thereby make it durable and sharper imaging.

This opens the way to plastic OLED displays of any size you might wish.  And that opens the way to "roll-up" computers no bigger than a fountain pen.  All the electronics could be embedded in the material of the screen and the screen itself would be coated with an OLED. 

This is hella cool stuff here.  And Cymer is just now starting to crack this market.  And I'm getting in at its ground level.

Yeah, I'm pretty enthused.

I'm also thrilled that the primary demand for the TCZ products is coming from Asia and NOT the US.  Aside from yielding an even greater potential for growth once the US market starts for it, this also means that the current demand is not dependent upon our economy climbing up out of the Depression we're currently in.

Today marks the first full week I've been at Cymer.  I just collected my first paycheck from the temp agency that's gotten me in there.  Next week's will be my first full check and not another partial like today's.  I'll be getting caught up on my bills and knocking down my credit card debts.  And putting away what I can in case I do not get picked up come July.  I plan on making myself indespensible to the TCZ program at Cymer.  But, I'm not going to bet the farm on it.

In the meantime though, I am tremendously relieved to be working again.  I don't do unemployed well.  Not well at all.

So, yay me!  I'm working again.  And working at a company with enormous potential!

Wish me luck!


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Current Location: Los Angeles
Current Mood: happy happy

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