For anyone in the US who's looking for an IT career I 100% recommend avoiding Telecoms. Having worked at one and knowing several people in that industry it's safe to say you don't want to do it unless you're a masochist for work.
List of the primary gripes I've experienced or I know a lot of other people experience.
- US customer service "standards" are fucked. Quite often you will get customer who will bitch hard enough that you will get told by management or corporate to do things you normally get told to "never" do. As an added bonus if you do it enough Management and/or Corporate will bitch at you for doing it.
- This ties into customer service point, but the Telecom and Cable industry is the lowest customer satisfaction industries to be in. This commonly means if you get in touch with a customer (business or residential) odds are fairly good you will get someone who hates you just by association, and have fun with that call or in person meeting when you're expected to give top notch customer service.
- You will become aware of customers with issues that they rightfully complain about, but you can't do anything about it and the only solution requires better hardware near that customer and may take YEARS to actually get "fixed". "Fixed" as in nothing is technically wrong but the only solution is say a closer DSL cabinet for speed or waiting for Fiber. As a worse tie-in it may be an apartment complex where the owner refuses to repair/replace internal wiring that they own...
- Damn near everyone (including coworkers) you talk to who comes to you with an issue knows next to jack shit and are reluctant to do anything for themselves. Just imagine trying to explain anything IT related to someone who hates computers, or only knows how to use a smart phone, or is elderly and rarely uses a computer.
- On-call is an utter nightmare as you will get calls about everything, from internal hardware or software issues or businesses and occasionally insistent residential users at any moment.
- Most companies in the US that have night-shifts pay more at night. However if you have to work a maintenance at say 12am to 5am you get paid the same as if it was 12PM to 5PM (at least this was true for me and everyone I talked to). To top that off if you're hourly for pay it's a massive pain in the ass to get hours in if you work several maintenances a week unless you go in with sub 6 hours of sleep later that same day.
- Telling friends and especially neighbors who you work for always leads to people complaining to you about everything your company does most of which you have 0 part in.
- Unless you become a supervisor or plan on staying with a company for ~10 years expect to have a job title that makes it sound like you're entry-level at best and probably do mostly helpdesk or low-level installation (even if you don't and have Associate/Professional level certifications)
I can say there is 1 big upside (that may not be true for particularly large Telecom/Cable companies) that's also a downside in that you have to be capable of being a System Admin, Network Admin, Server Admin as well as helpdesk Tier 2+ so it's decent to get some experience in but is also really stressful as you pretty much have to do everything. On top of that if you do try to find a new job almost no other company will believe you did all of those things unless you got certifications for each individual thing.
Here's an example of an email I got.
ENDUSERI need to get the [REDACTED PROGRAM NAME] set up on [REDACTED]’s computer she is going to be a back up would, she is out of office today - can we get this set up tomorrow have a file ready to download
All of that text was in the subject line with a blank body field.