Friday, May 15, 2015

Extinct Occupation...Or IS it?

This week, I read the following paragraph in my book: "The Avenant Building is on Olive near Sixth and has a black-and-white rubber sidewalk out in front. The elevator girls wear gray silk Russian blouses and the kind of flop-over berets artists used to wear to keep the paint out of their hair. The Doreme Cosmetic Company..." Well, never mind about the Doreme Cosmetic Company.

The point is: Elevator girls! Elevator boys! Elevator men and women! My immediate gut reaction: Operating an elevator is no longer a lucrative career and is, in fact, an Extinct Occupation! Here is the smiley and pleasant looking Johada Estrada, member of Local 14 (photo courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library). She must have been the last of her kind, right? So long, Johada, so long...WAIT JUST A HOT, COTTON-PICKIN' MINUTE!!!
I'm wrong. Again! There are a couple of job openings for elevator operators on Here are the specs for one:

"As an Elevator Operator, you will meet and surpass the expectations of every guest through engaging experiences by providing a pleasant and informative elevator ride. In this role, you will answer all guest questions and address any concerns while moving guests efficiently to various levels. You will also be responsible for ensuring that all signs and display messaging are correctly directing guests at all levels....You will manage elevator movement and communication through multiple monitors and lines of communication..." (WHA?)

Okay: It sounds exhausting, doesn't it? As long as it's just an automatic elevator and not one like Johada Estrada's, I figured you just ride on up and down with a bunch of people who stand there quietly? Well, some of them are glaring angrily at the guy next to them--pretending he was the one who farted--some might be drunk and noisy, and some  are probably hoping the elevator doesn't break down because they hate elevators,  but I swear the rest of them are standing there quietly and not really expecting anything. 

Ooh. No expectations. That just might be the secret to "surpassing the expectations of every guest." And, with that thought, I suddenly realize that I might have a bright future as an elevator operator...

It does seem to be a semi-extinct occupation...other than super fancy schmancy places (requiring "movement and communication through multiple monitors and lines of communication" WHA?), olde-fashioned buildings with legit antique elevators, the need for GRAIN elevator operators, and yes, the government, which has Senator-Only fully automated elevators that are staffed by elevator operators.....WHA? But there's no indication that the senate elevator operators "wear gray silk Russian blouses and the kind of flop-over berets artists used to wear to keep the paint out of their hair"--at least not that I can find...yet...