Springingtiger's Blog

Changing Times
October 27, 2013, 23:23
Filed under: autism, disability, NLP, Scotland, social media, success | Tags: , , , ,


More than thirty years ago I got a job in what was then the Post Office, although it was soon to become British Telecom.  I remember my first manager,  John Ross telling me, “You are in the Post Office now,  you’ve got a job for life”. Fifteen years later I made the mistake of taking voluntary redundancy,  otherwise perhaps I might have. However today’s reality is that very few of us can expect more than a few years in one job.

I do not like change,  however in reality I have seen a lot of changes during my working life and I have come through them. Experience tells me,  I will come through these current changes,  but my emotions tell me, as usual, that this is the end of the world.  It is not the end of the world, but it is the end of an era. I was fifteen years in BT and I have been in this job for seventeen years, I have been a telephone operator for more than half my life,  nearly all my working life so far. When I started the UK led the world in telephony,  even the USA did not have universal direct dialling,  whereas we did, well apart from Campbelltown and,  let’s face it,  very few people wanted to phone Campbelltown.

We had no mobile phones. I remember we provided the telephony for the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in 1986 where I saw my first mobile and I wanted one. It was actually a car phone mounted on a car battery, with a shoulder strap and a four foot aerial,  very sexy!

Back then we had horrible, heavy headsets. Our switchboards were a mass of lights we had chords, plugs and dials and BT trained operators dominated the nation’s PBXs (private branch exchanges). It was time when the operator’s job required a degree of skill,  we had CLIs (called line intercepts) and doctors’ diversions,  we could actually check the state of lines and interupt calls and much more beside.  Virtually all international calls were operator controlled and the operator needed a broad geographical knowledge as we had no computer access then. It was an age of analogue communications when the night shift was accompanied by the gentle lullaby of the Strowger and crossbar switches. We needed a lot of operators then, Glasgow alone had six manned telephone exchanges, a night staff of three hundred and fifty operators. Now technological advances have more or less removed the need for operators, I don’t suppose I shall ever work in another switch room.

After seventeen years I have a routine to which I am used. I know I will develop new routines, but I do not like change. I do not like not knowing what I shall do tomorrow, I suppose having an empty future is liberating, but I don’t like it. I expect most of us prefer familiarity and security to uncertainty and adventure, I am just going to have to get used to the uncertainty,  perhaps I may as self development gurus suggest,  come to enjoy it (Is that sarcasm?). I am perhaps not at my best right now; change, stress,  sleeplessness and their accompanying myalgia, headaches and tinnitus are a little annoying.  I am beginning to suspect that I may no longer be suited to working a thirteen hour night shift,  like last night’s, perhaps redundancy does,  after all,  have an up side.



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