Alice Ku: Telephone Operator | Teen Ink

Alice Ku: Telephone Operator

May 10, 2009
By Joy Lee BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
Joy Lee BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I was very fortunate to talk to my grandmother about her job. My grandma was a telephone operator, and she would always pick up the call and transfer the call to the right person. It was a very important job, because without my grandma, people wouldn’t be able to call their friends or relatives. This job was also very difficult too, because the operator machine has lots of buttons and codes and it was really easy to make a mistake.
Do you take work home with you?

No, I can’t take work home with me, because I can’t take the operator home! There’s a machine in the factory where I work, and I have to transfer peoples’ calls using the machine. If I don’t pick up the call, then the person calling won’t be able to get through with their call. Basically, it’s impossible to take work home with me.
How many hours do you normally work?
I normally work 8 hours a day, but the other workers and I take turns on our shifts. Sometimes we split the hours and work longer hours at night.
Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
Working on a team is great! We can help each other with the calls and take over someone’s spot if that person has to go somewhere else. We are all very hardworking and understanding, so if someone needs help, one of us will always be there to help that person. Teamwork is great in a job like this, and we get a lot accomplished as a team.
If you know your boss is wrong about something, how would you handle it?
If my boss was wrong about something, I would definitely correct him and tell him that he is wrong. It’s very important to stand up for yourself if you’re right about something, because sometimes our pays get lower if someone makes a mistake or because of a misunderstanding. Usually my buddies and I would go up to my boss and talk to him about the problem, and eventually we would always work something out. I would never just let the situation go by, because then the workers and I might get in trouble, and it doesn’t benefit my boss either, because then he’ll never know the right answer!
What type of work environment do you work in?
I work in a factory, and it is actually very clean! The workers in the factory kept it nice and clean and it was a great environment to work in. There were windows to let in fresh air, so the factory wouldn’t be dark and humid. There were also trees and other plants around the factory, making it look very nice and clean. Overall it was a great place to work in!
How do you handle stress and pressure?
Well, when I’m at work, I just do what I was told to do, and try to avoid stress and pressure. After work though, my friends and I would go to the library and borrow some books, then I would read in my spare time. We would also go to the movie theater sometimes and relax there. The movie theater was basically our only entertainment at that time, so we really had no choice but to watch movies. It was still a great way to handle stress and pressure though! I was also in a choir back then, and we would travel to other factories and sing for the workers there. I loved singing and it definitely helped me with stress. I was also in plays, so that was really fun for me back then. Overall, I mostly hung out with my friends when I’m stressed or pressured.

The author's comments:
After interviewing my grandma, I had learned a lot about the job and working conditions my grandma had back then. It was also very difficult to write this interview, because it was hard for me to translate everything my grandma said from Chinese to English. It was a challenge, but I had lots of fun doing the interview.

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This article has 1 comment.

on May. 30 2009 at 11:19 pm
Vidya A. BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
Yay Joy! This was a really well-constructed article, and I liked reading it. Being a telephone operator sounds very interesting!