Sunday, March 11

Operator, May I Help You?

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that in the 1970s, I worked for Bell Canada as a switchboard operator. It was before modern technology and I sat at a switchboard that looked much like the one in the above photo, only about three times larger. These switchboards lined both sides of the room and there was an operator at every one of them. A light on one of the circuits would come on and you plugged the cord into it and said, "Operator, may I help you?"

I loved this job, but then computers became the "in" thing and many of us were let go because of cutbacks. I would have loved to do this job forever. However, the world progresses even as we sometimes wish it would remain the same.

Photo of switchboard was taken at the Bell Homestead, Brantford, ON


  1. I remember the operators...I remember the party lines too!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    happy Sunday!

  2. We had a party line when I was growing up. I think being an operator would have been interesting!

  3. I think I would have loved a job like that. Anything that kept my hands moving was right down my alley.

  4. I love being an operator and really miss those days. Somethings don't change for the better in my opinion. Have a good week Mary.

  5. Hello sweet Mary!! Long time, no see. I just read the comment you left for me [as I no longer read my Google Reader so I don't know when anyone posts new blog entries] - and that made my day! I've been thinking of you. Are you still in your home? Or have you relocated? Things like that. Anyway, my MIL was a retired phone operator. And yes, this looks a lot like her switchboard. Times change, but...I think it would've been fun to work as one.

    Hope all is well with you and Dwight and your grandsons.

  6. When I was at uni in the late 60s early 70s, there was still a setup like this to run the university system.

  7. No, I didn't know that! See, I'm still learning new things about you! lol I can just see myself having done that job, I would have had everything screwed up so badly. LOL I think it's awesome that you were an operator in those days before the computers came along. Modern technology sure did take away a lot of jobs! xoxo

  8. I've always been intrigued by that job! It looks like it would have been difficult at times to "plug in" to the right call. Sorry about those darn computers taking away your job!

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