Friday, June 15, 2012

Telephone Operators and the Interent



What do we do without the internet? I am quite used to being connected on a 24/7 basis. Imagine my surprise when in the middle of remodeling my bathroom, I decided to Google a painting technique and there was no internet. My phone and iPad were useless as well.  There are some perks in living in the country but internet access is not one of them. I am waiting on the internet access plan for all to take effect.

For the first time in many years I found myself on the 411 look up line with a frenzied sounding operator.  After my service was troubleshot and restore, I decided to look up telephone operator statistics. 
 How many telephone operators are still on the job nowadays? 
My current WIP has an unfortunate Telephone Operator from the 1930’s, so in the process of researching her role I will be gathering information on operators then and now. In 1919, according to the Communications Workers of America there approximately 200 local telephone companies with approximately 20,000 operators. By 1938, telephone operator employment had swelled to almost 145,000. According to an Occupational census in 2011, there are now 14,890. This was apparently, a job that offered security in the past and now is almost obsolete as technology continues to improve. 

Back to the internet issue that is of utmost importance to my wired little mind.  I called 411 the first time and got a disconnected number. The second time I called I got the number for a satellite company.  I had no option but to continue calling the alternative number I received for them.  Obviously the former telephone operators should have a customer service job with them, as I had to go through about forty keypad prompts.  The operator there ever so kindly looked up the number for me. When I finally got through on that number it was only to tell me the previous number is experiencing trouble with their telephone line. I decided to take another route and try to get through to technical service through sales.   I look at the numbers written on my notepad and feel like I should create a flowchart while I am waiting for a live person to answer.

I also took the time to program all of the numbers I received into my cell phone so I never have to go through this again. After my service was troubleshot and restore, I decided to look up telephone operators.  There are currently about 15,000 employed telephone operators. In 1938, there were approximately 145,000. 

1 comment:

Samuel Smith said...

I think you brought up a great point about companies employing operators instead of having a large phone tree. I don't mind one or two levels, but after that it's really annoying. A well trained operator can really boost the company's reputation.

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