Working as a lineman for over forty years gives a person a unique perspective for what it takes to keep the lights on.
Fortunately, I have the time now, safely in retirement, to be able to give thanks and recognize others.
The people in trouble centers, control centers, traffic control, oil response, fire and police, arborists, and materials were all part of the response teams. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and in the worst of conditions, everyone worked together towards the common goal. Of course, everyone thinks, well that is what you get paid good money for, and they are right.
These are all great people. They are professionals and do important work but, it is how they do it that has kept me alive. From the early years of landline phones and radios, people have had to learn and adapt to technology. Dealing with 911 level of emergencies, being focused on getting a clear idea of the problems takes superior communications. Dale Carnegie's level of listening, compassionately, to accurately collect a message and then turn around to wake a sleeping lineman and their family to convey the need for a call out is hard.
It was always the kind and patient voices who phoned, knowing things were urgent but staying calm and collected while going through a call out list, that made me proud of their service.
Poking a sleeping bear is dangerous and I am sure the stories that the call centers could tell are hilarious. These people went from receiving an urgent message to poking the bear and avoiding getting swatted or verbally mauled to death.
The games that linemen play to cherry pick a call, or to avoid coming out, could be maddening for the caller but they stayed polite. That is why I feel respect and thankful for their professional abilities. The patience of Job comes to mind. Of course, we long time career people develop phone relationships with people that we have never met. Even after retirement, we never get to meet but our shared efforts remain in our memories. Getting the lights on was our goal and always came first.
Thank you for doing a difficult job well, being an impressive human being and the important part of the team.
Bruce Masse – Trouble Technician