Sunday, December 4, 2016

Jobs I Have Held

When someone asks me what I do for a living, or what I've done in the past, I have to tell them that it's a long answer. I have held many jobs. Some I loved, some I hated, and some were just sort of in between.

I'm going to list some of them and discuss them briefly.

1. Long Distance Information Specialist For AT&T - This was a position in the division of AT&T that had a wonderful service called "AT&T Info".  For 99 cents, AT&T customers could get any phone number in the U.S.A. as long as it was listed. If coded "NP", that meant the number was not published (unlisted). If someone needed to reach someone else whose number was "NP", another specialist at the help desk would place a conference call, ask the person getting the call if they wanted to speak to the caller, and if so, would then drop out of the call.

This was a fun, challenging, well paying job. We were unionized, and we had great benefits. There were two calling centers for the service. One was located in Georgia but the one I worked at was in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

I was great at this job. I set the record for making it out of training fastest and I also set the record for most calls in a single shift. We were expected to do somewhere between 250 to 300 calls in eight hours. On a warm day in early autumn, a day in which I was in a great mood, I got into a real groove and did 500 calls in eight hours. My supervisor, when she saw the pace I was setting, monitored me for three hours and told me the next day that I was perfect. 

At&T goofed, at a very basic level, by expanding the service much too quickly. They added the ability to get movie times and restaurant reviews. This drove those of us who did the job absolutely nuts. The Scranton call center started having people quit and wound up having to merge with the center in Georgia because they didn't have enough of us on the floor taking calls. I was in no position to move to Georgia, so I reluctantly gave the job up.

2. Fast food closer at Wendy's - Wow. Did I really do this for almost five years? The first four years, we had a store manager that was great. She was funny, smart, and never asked any of us to do a task that she herself wouldn't do. Great hourly rate, great benefits, and great co-workers made this job fun.

Until our store manager took a promotion. Her sister, who was a real you know what, took over. This woman was totally incompetent. Our store was so good, it was designated as a "Class A" training store. That meant we not only trained managers, we also trained new franchise owners. When Sue took over from Ann, things went bad very quickly. I was fired just a month short of five years, and my firing was a total joke.

I had put together a string of three years in which I worked 975 nights.

One of those years was a leap year,  so that made it a total of 121 nights in those three years that I didn't work.

The night I was fired, I told my co-workers that I was the first but would not be the last. I predicted that within six months, all six of them would either be fired or would get so fed up that they had to quit.

It took four months. For the record, three quit and three were fired. The three firings were as much of a joke as mine had been.

3. Master Control Operator at WBGH-TV - This was a weird situation. I really liked the job and found it to be challenging. Running the board means making sure that nothing but nothing goes wrong. Or if something does, dealing with it quickly.

I got really got good at it, but as I said, it was a weird situation. My station manager disliked me and made no secret of that fact. Most nights, he was gone by the time I got to the station. That was just fine with me.

Some of the things I remember are the time I hit the wrong button and started playing "Wheel Of Fortune" in reverse (yes, we were still running shows off recorded tapes), the day I filled in for a co-worker who had a family emergency, covering both his shift and my own for fourteen hours, and the night I ran control during Game Seven of the N.B.A. finals. That night, I had to be, and was, the sharpest I had ever been.

As always, I thank you for reading.

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