Ex BT Engineer

What could drive a dedicated, keen BT employee to contemplate leaving a ‘Job for Life’. Read all about this Ex BT Engineer Geoff Grove.

Ex BT Engineer – The company I was so proud to work for.

BT Engineer

The good old days

I still remember my interview, and the day I joined British Telecom and became a BT Engineer. A terrific ‘Champagne’ moment. 25 years ago I was so proud to have been accepted and be part of something so exciting. No other job would be like it, it was the dawn of a fantastic journey!

BT Engineer – My first day

On my first day of work, I was taken to a BT Telephone Exchange in Rayleigh Essex – my hometown. The sheer amount of relays and ‘a spaghetti’ of wiring on a proportion i’ve never seen, left me standing in awe. I was to be trained to work  and understand what my mind at that moment struggled to comprehend. Given that I had always been so interested in electronics, my eyes were ‘like saucers’! Colleagues treated each other with respect, there was a ‘happy family’ feeling to the whole thing. You all knew your role, you were all team players.

BT Engineer – I loved my job, and my customers.

Every time I fixed someone’s telephone line, or installed an extra socket and saw the job through from start to finish, I got a huge sense of satisfaction. There, at the end of a BT Engineer visit, was a satisfied happy customer. I helped elderly and hard of hearing people understand their BT telephone and get more out of it. Just programming the numbers in and demonstrating an amplifying handset, simply having the time to spend an extra 15 minutes to go that extra mile was very rewarding all round. I got to work in very interesting and diverse places.

BT Engineer – The gradual demise of the British Telecom I once knew.

It started with our stores depot. BT sold off the large yard I’d cleared of snow year after year, our great team of storeman, various other departments wound down. All those characters, hard working Ex BT people, disappearing in the unstoppable name of progress. I remember walking through the silent building at Stock Road, into the toilets. There were 10 or 15 urinals in a row, and I would look on, saddened that the whole place was now like a ghost town. I could only imagine how many people used to work in that building.

BT Engineer- Tracked, monitored, scrutinised, Time and Motion

Laptops were handed out to engineers, once again I felt very lucky. I was at the cutting edge of technology, able to demonstrate skills to customers to help them, and enhance their experience of a BT Engineer visiting them. Not many of my friends were issued with a laptop as a perk of their job. As time went on though, the laptops would become more and more crucial to monitor and scrutinise our performance to extreme and oppressive levels. They sadly closed our vehicle workshop at Stock Road, no one local now to look after our fleet of vans, our once bustling yard was now desolate and bare.

BT Engineer – Trackers installed in vehicles

It’s a sign of the times for many of us in the service sector. ‘Big Brother’ mentality by the heavy handed impervious upper management focusing heavily on how many jobs they can get us to do, though they always paid lip service to the quality aspect, it really wasn’t something that weighted heavily on our apraisments. Action plans for anyone who’s productivity was below a certain level. My line manager glossed over the fact that I hadn’t had a job come back in 3 months, it was all about speed from now on. He was just as powerless as I was so stop the unstoppable. Then came the installation of Trackers, and in powerful combination with the laptops, would log our every movement.

Ex BT Engineer – How could it be time to leave?

A paradox-leaving a career I loved so much. Walking away from the vast knowledge I had built up over 23 years, for I knew the layout of every underground cable in every street in a 10 mile radius. I’d climbed every pole, worked down so many holes, through the seasons come snow, rain, ice, wind or warm sunshine. That kept everyone going, kept the spirits up on those bitter grey days. You worked for that vision of summer…

I couldn’t second guess if and when there would be another round of voluntary redundancy. The settlements being offered were also declining so I had no choice. I couldn’t work in this way with the trackers and nit picking any more…

I had to jump… and here I am! Now an Ex BT Engineer !

Time for a new start & hopefully if I am successful I will inspire many others who feel stuck in a similar helpless situation.I hope that this Ex BT Engineer can show the other BT Engineers that the future outside BT can be rewarding too.

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