"Can I speak to Susan?" the caller asked. I was in training but already knew we got these calls all the time. People who thought they were calling a small office instead of an industrial switchboard.
"What department, please?" I asked.
My trainer was listening in and yanked the mic from my headset, pulling us cheek-to-cheek. "I'll connect you, sir," she said, as she smushed the mic back on my face, and connected the call. "That was Mr. X!" she said. (The owner of the global enterprise.) I was supposed to know his voice, and that when he called asking for Susan, I was to connect him to his secretary. Good thing I would be working nights.
[Names changed to keep folks from judging the 1%.]
Today is Emma M. Nutt Day, honoring the first adult, and first woman, to be a telephone operator, making $10/month. Before her, they used rude boys -- story is in the link.
I got to work three switchboard jobs in my youth, each with its own adventures and characters. So I want to remember this telepioneer. From here on out, I will be referring to Peanut M&M's by her name. Let's face it -- this day sounds delicious. My gesture may not be as dignified as the civility she brought to her work, but it will help me remember her and all the nutty, grossly underpaid females who followed, including me and my friends. I will tell some of our stories at some point but for now, please hold.