Voice On The Wire is the small digest size zine I began about the world of all things related to telephone culture. I was a Telephone Operator so good material was abundant. I considered VOTW to be “pleasantly subversive,” with some gentle mockery of certain aspects of the business and workplace life. It surely was a refreshing change from rock writing.
There were three issues of VOTW. I loved everything about the zine, from the Lily Tomlin centrefold, to the interview I did with the very first male Telephone Operator in the USA (who just happened to be a total hunk!) I truly feel like I won the lottery working for B.C. Tel, which later became Telus. Good grief, I could have wound up in radio. Shudder.
What’s that about radio, you ask? Here’s my tale of woe: I graduated in 1987 from BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) where I went to radio school. My aim hadn’t been to be a disc jockey; a music writer, copy writer, or programmer was more on my mind. I was pretty crazy about music, even though my taste hadn’t nearly developed to its full potential.
BCIT turned out to be a disaster, the obvious reason being commercial radio sucks (who knew?) and some truly nefarious classmates right out of Central Casting’s evil department didn’t help. I stuck it through to get the diploma, a communications related education never did anyone wrong, eh?
Work did not fall into my lap after graduation and employment of any sort began to look appealing. After poking around the classifieds I saw the telephone company, B.C. Tel, were hiring. “It has come to this.” I thought, and let’s face it, the irony is rich. At least if hired as an Operator I would be using my voice! What did I have to lose?
I got the gig, and enjoyed the work. Let me tell you for an unemployed 24 year old in 1988, making $9.00 an hour as a temp employee, was darn good. Soon enough I was hired on full-time doing a stress-free job, with great benefits, and options as to work more or less hours as desired. All this left me plenty of time for hobbies on the side.
I wound up taking an offered buyout, after 15 years service, in 2002. I left six months before my 40th birthday. I could have stayed, but things were really changing and I made the correct decision to leave. Nothing but fond memories, what more can one ask for?