Thursday, January 19, 2017

Visual people

The first time I stepped into this building was in 1983. I was beginning a new job after being surplused from my old one with MaBell.

I'd worked outside hanging miles of wire through the rural landscape of Central Alabama to connect phones for farmers, carpenters, and steelworkers. 

I enjoyed the work but at times it could be brutal. None of the service trucks were air conditioned then, so in August my van was like a furnace by lunchtime. 

It did have a heater but servicemen spend a great deal of time out in the elements where a heater does you little good.

I remember hanging on the south side of a telephone pole 30 feet off the ground with snow and ice blowing in my face. It was my last job before Christmas vacation and the people REALLY wanted their phone before the holidays. 

So I hung there, with the wind whistling in my ears. My fingers were frozen around the headset I used to call the assignment office. They were late coming back from their lunch Christmas party. I needed the cable pairs to make the connection for the phone. Cable pairs are the tiny twisted wires that connect a telephone to the world. 

As I hung there for what seemed like hours, I said to myself, "There's got to be a better way to make a living." The Universe must have heard me because when I came back from my Christmas vacation, my supervisor told me of cutbacks...and that I needed to find another job within the phone company or I'd lost my job.

I found a job as a computer attendant in the building above, and I worked there until March of 2010 when I was offered a voluntarily/involuntary separation. I could take the money and run, or stick around and take my chances. I ran.

The day I walked out of the building after 27 years there were geese on the top edge of the building. They honked as I walked to my truck. Some people, when the leave a job after working that many years, go back and visit. Not me. I never set foot in that building again.

This picture brought a flood of memory. We are a visual people.



  1. 40 years and it was suggested that I retire by some snot who knew spit about the business that I somehow reported to but had only seen like twice. I've had no desire to visit, even though I left some good friends behind.

    1. That's a story I've heard too often.

  2. When I retired after 35 years (not quite pushed out but certainly very worn out) I never went back to visit and did not miss any of the daily grind. That surprised me.

  3. I was pushed out the door on invalidity grounds. I have never been back.
    Love that image.

  4. When I was laid off from the company I last worked at all the people I worked with assured me that I would be back to visit. I assured them I would not. My supervisor walked by and I called to him, "Hey Ken. If you were no longer working here would you come back to visit?" He snorted a no. I said, "See?"

  5. When I retired from gardening public places, I was offered 1/2 year severance, bought 5 years airtime (service credits), and thought,"This'll never come again" (it didn't), and drove my van home in 2009. I think we come from a more humane economy, Rick. I sure hope unions can hold up under the coming siege.

  6. You are so right. We are visual people. One sight can bring back a flood of memories. I've had cause to realize just that recently when going to a funeral. Good memories though and that's better than the alternative for sure.

  7. Many folk are not ready to 'hang it up' and should not. I see miserable 'retired' folk every day, who do not know how to handle the responsibility of their lives, lives that have been directed by others for so long.
    Imma thinking that you 'done good'.
    PS: I know I commented earlier BUT the internet gods took it, it was so inspiring. LOL

  8. I don't blame you one bit! At this point in my life, I think I'd like being offered an 'incentive' ... except for the unspoken message, (that) one is disposable.

  9. Im at the "take my chances" part of this job after being her for 23 years. If or when it ends, Im out! I will not set foot back here nor answer another call.

  10. I have been at my present job for 25 1/2 yrs and one never knows when leaving may come...I hope it will be my decision but you never know. I love my job but I wonder if I would come back for a visit..I might if the same people are here but you never know. Thankfully I never had a job where I was hanging in the cold and wind waiting for someone to come back from a Christmas party to do a simple hook up.

  11. I don't think I'll be given a buyout as I call it, but if they offered I would absolutely take the money and run (well, walk really fast with my new knees) Because I work in a hospital I guess my return visit might be because I'd be on the gurney going in instead of the other side working!

  12. I'm not wondering what I would do if my husband fired me from working at our dairy farm. I think I would enjoy my retirement and I'm sure I would keep myself busy at something... At 70, I'm good and ready to retire before it's too late.
    I'm sure I would go back to visit the calves once in a while though.

  13. I've been self-employed for most of my life so I've had to revisit myself several times.

  14. I never visited a newspaper where I had worked, but I visited the nursing home every time I went back to Maryland for my daughter's school activities (boarding school in Pennsylvania). I loved and respected my patients, and I felt loved and respected by them even when they got upset and tried to smack me because they didn't want to take their medicine.


  15. Yes we are indeed visual people

  16. The only place I went back to visit where I had worked was the grocery store where I was a cashier at one time... I had to eat... lol

    Now that I work from home, I am sure I will retire from the company never having to set foot there again, I am good with that, even though I do love my job xox


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