The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Running into your boss

Let's take a trip down Memory Lane, shall we? Back into those primitive days, before personal computers, before iPods, the internet, and blogs. But not so far back that I have to fill in any blanks.

It was 1971, I believe, when this happened. I was working my first year in telecommunications. An easy job but not a glamorous one. I was working in a Step by Step switch for what was then called Southern Bell Telephone. I had been there for about 10 or so months. I worked the midnight to 8 AM shift because I had no seniority to speak of. And I looked like this:

Each morning, around 6 AM or so, I had to "clear permanents". This involved going up and down the aisles of Line Finder switches looking for ones that were in use, listening in with a test set to see if there is any conversation and, when there was none, connecting a ground clip to disable the line and clear the switch. What these were were people who took their phones off hook so it wouldn't ring and they could sleep through the night or they were lines that had some problem outside my control which shorted the line. I would write these down and trace the numbers and give that list to the Test Board who allegedly would determine whether the seizures were the former or the latter.

I learned over time that the guys on the Test Board probably just threw that list away. But that didn't matter, I still had to make the list.

We had rolling ladders that we could move down the aisles so we could get up to the higher shelves. I would jump on the ladder and roll down the aisle from section to section, flying past the cross aisles. It was 6 AM or so, as I said, and there was rarely anyone around to run into. Except on one morning.

One morning as I was flying down an aisle and about to cross another aisle, I caught a glimpse of someone on that cross aisle, I barely stopped in time. It was tricky to stop some of these ladders because though they had an automatic braking system that system was often tampered with so it did not work. I just happened to be on one that had a working brake and all I had to do was let go of a cable that held the brake disengaged. It still doesn't stop immediately and I almost ran into the person.

That person was the office manager. I rarely saw him since I worked the night shift. He rarely came through the switchroom when he went to his office. And I had never been introduced to him. He had no idea, of course, who I was. I was just that "long haired, hippie guy."

This was no way to impress the boss.

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