Drawing telephones was a fun job. Although I have worked in graphics and publishing most of my life, I have had some other jobs outside of that field. I worked as a bakery clean-up guy at a Publix supermarket in Fort Pierce, Florida (store 92) for a while. My job was to clean the counters, scrub the toilets, mop the floors. Since I was experienced in bakery clean-up, I later went to work for The Country Treat Bakery in Port St. Lucie. Well, that was the end of my bakery career.
I also delivered newspapers, picked beans in New York, and packed pills for a diet doctor. But, I think my favorite non-graphic job was that as a Telephone Pole Design Engineer. You’re probably thinking, “how did you get such a glamorous job? Was it dangerous?” Ummm. No. Actually, it was quite fun. I had a friend who worked for the phone company. He suggested that I interview with the contractor firm that evaluated poles in need of replacement. By some miracle, I was hired. I had no idea what I was doing and I got paid by the piece. So, the more poles I “drew” the more I got paid. It took about a month for me to train myself in telephone pole terminology, symbology, methods, AutoCAD, etc., but then I was off and running.
How Do You Draw a Telephone Pole?
A company called Osmose would go around checking telephone poles. They would then send a list to the phone company telling them which telephone poles needed replacing. The planner would prepare a list and assign it to a contractor. I would get, say a list of 50 poles in a certain geographic region. I worked poles from Tequesta, Florida, up through Port St. Lucie, Ft. Pierce, Vero Beach, Fellsmere, Gifford, and Micco. The first one I had to find had me walking along the beach at Blowing Rocks Beach in Jupiter, Florida and ending up behind country singer Alan Jackson’s house (or so I was told). One time, I was sent to the property of Burt Reynolds!
Show Me Your Pole
Sometimes a telephone pole was out on a big ranch, or on city streets, but most were in people’s backyards. I would always ask the residents for permission to enter their property and I never encountered a nasty person. One guy even drove me around in his golf cart out in the boondocks. I was chased by dogs once in western Vero Beach and took refuge on top of a fence surrounding a horse paddock. The horses were of no help as I yelled expletives at the hounds. After that, I carried pepper spray, but never had a need to use it. I would then drive out to the site, confirm the address, the GPS, the size, the condition, and then go back to the office and draw a map and look up the existing information on the pole and determine what needed to be done. The work was then checked and sent to the field guys for the work to be done. It was pretty exciting driving down the road and seeing a new pole in the place of the one I drew. Those became MY poles.
Unfortunately, the contract ended, but after which, I found out I had won a gift card for “Highest Quality.” Cool, huh! So, I went from a know-nothing to top in my class in one year, when I was a Telephone Pole Design Engineer. Yes, I did wear an orange vest.
Check Out My Pole
In the picture, is a pole I designed. The short pole on the right was one that Osmose said needed to be replaced. You can see on the new pole that the power company and the cable company have transferred their lines, but the phone company has not yet done so. When they do, they will go back out and pull that empty pole out of the ground. This pole is on Ave H, in Fort Pierce, Florida (GPS 27.457321, -80.331303). I’m pretty darned proud of that pole.