Monday, August 9, 2010

Operator.....

I told you a while back how I worked for the phone company after high school. I was an Operator. Yes, the kind that use to connect your long distance calls. I worked at a switchboard and plugged the little plug in when a light popped up and said, "Operator". The person would tell me the number they wanted to call and I would mark it on a card and then take another plug and stick it into an outgoing hole and punch in the number and away went the call. The cords stayed plugged in until the lights on the console turned red and signaled that the call was done. Oh my...those were the days.

I got promoted to a Junior Supervisor where I would help train new Operators and then I transferred out to work in the Business Office where people would call to order phone service. I quit when I was pregnant with Tresa so I was there for about five years.

A friend of mine that I worked with at the phone company posted the following picture for me on Facebook. Can you find me?

I love our clothes. Even sitting at a switchboard in an office where no one ever saw you...you dressed for business!

Carol reminded me how we had to get permission to get up to go to the bathroom and there was no talking allowed. I do remember that the hours for people with little seniority were awful. I especially hated the A/E shift....that was afternoon/evening...in other words...your entire day was shot. I loved days, but most of the time those hours went to the "older" ladies that had been there for a while.

Oh the memories.....what was your first job out of high school or college?

14 comments:

Matty said...

My mom did the same thing out of high school. She was an operator too.

My first job out of college was selling vacuum cleaners. I still can't believe I did that.

You are the second from the right.

Sherry said...

Is that you,3rd from the left?

I worked as a bank teller a few summers while home from college. It was my first grown up sort of job. It was so interesting to me, to meet all sorts of people.

Except that once, a woman left her false teeth on the grand marble counter in front of my window. Yikes!

I still laugh about that more than 20 years later.

xo

Lanyardlady said...

My first job was working in a library. I had to be quiet, which was a real challenge. I liked it, though, and they pretty much left me alone. I think you're the lovely lady third from left.

Oklahoma Granny said...

I came very, very close to working for the phone company right out of high school. I'd had 4 interviews and was back for the final one - the one when they'd tell me when to come to work - when that particular manager happened to look down at my resume and discover I had not yet turned 18. That was in May and my birthday is in Sept. He apologized over and over for the oversight. They couldn't hold the job that many months so I was out of luck. Instead I went to a technical school and eventually my first job was as a key punch operator.

I agree with Matty - 2nd from the right.

Ms Sparrow said...

It's always such fun to see pictures from the past. The clothes and hair styles are a hoot!

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

I love looking at old photos. The young girls here would have been considered quite daring in their mini skirts, a far cry from today when anything goes it seems.
Mini skirted girls from the 60's had style and class.
Cheers,
Melbourne Daily Photo

Teresa Evangeline said...

I think I had the same dress as the first girl on the left! Mine was a deep gold. I think you're the second on the right. I worked for my parents at their cafe during high school, but was soon a mama, with a little one... I became a teacher for awhile after college.

^..^Corgidogmama said...

I was an operator for five years following high school. These days, the young, have no concept what an operator was, or did! You're right, no talking, and permission to go to the toilet....these days, things are much more lax, in every area. The A/E shifts were terrible shifts...and the old ladies for sure had the cream of the crop in hours! Sigh, I miss those full benefits though...and the commaradarie of the young gals working there. Fun days.

DUTA said...

You're definitely the second from the right. You're the tallest and nicest in the group.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

i pick 2nd from right, too.

my mom retired from the telephone company. she started out as an operator and then became directory assistance. i remember dialing directory assistance and getting her more than once. she wasn't allowed to acknowledge when we'd say "hi mom! is that you mom?" and would just have to ask how she could help us. other times, she'd be the person who said, "what number did you dial?" when something had been disconnected and she'd provide the correct number - never acknowledging that she was talking to one of her kids.

gayle said...

That was my first job too!!!! I miss those days so much!! I started as an operator in 1970!! Took a years leave after my first daughter was born and then went back. After my youngest was born I never went back. That was a big mistake. The money I made!!! We call that shift I think you are talking about a split shift. Sometimes I worked 8-12 4-8. I didn't like that one b/c like you said the day was shot. Most of the time I work 3-11. Do you have excused time? We could put in for it when we got to work and if we were slow they would let us go home..with out pay of course but I loved it. If I had stayed I would be retire now with awesome benifits and a large retirement. I regret quiting but don't regret the time spent at home with my girl...just wish I had gone back.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That was always a job I thought would be fun. You all look so professional!
My first job was waitress--as miserable as you might imagine.

Bluebell said...

You are third from the left, you have'nt changed much. I can remember wearing clothes like these and I loved the, I too was a telephonist.
Love Jillx

The Black Widow said...

I love these old photos...I have tons of them of my ma and dad. When I was growing up we all went to Catholic school and had outfits..tooo funny....A long time ago we had a babysitter in the country her name was Mrs Bull. The worst cook on the planet but the nicest old lady you could find. I got a photo of her from my ma the other day to keep. One day after school you wake up and your 40+...the next time ya think about it your 55...Pretty soon maybe someone will want an old photo of mine..?or not....Nice blog you have...

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