I need to give my class mate at least a75-word comment on her post
Giving Career Advice
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So you want to join the railroad…
Congratulations on your recent graduation. What an exciting time this is for you. Your life is full of so many options right now and I understand that you have shown an interest in joining the railroad. Working for a company like CSX can be very rewarding but there are a few harsh realities that I would like you to take into account before you apply.
As you know I got this position shortly after returning from Afghanistan where I was performing service as a mission commander on long haul convoys. I had been doing that job with the military for twelve years prior. So when I applied for a position on the railroad I already had many years of experience working with heavy equipment logistics and transportation. I’m not saying that kind of experience is required. They do send you for training if you are hired but some experience would most likely be preferred and would really help you stand out among the other candidates.
Another big part of this job is the toll that it takes on your personal life. This is a 24/7 on call position. You’ve seen me after the crazy hours I’ve worked and how hard it is for me to arrange time to get together with family and friends because I never know when my phone is going to ring. It’s a very demanding and exhausting job. Especially if you plan on having a family some day. This career takes a lot of time away from having any quality of life. It’s also a pretty physically demanding job as well. You’re constantly out in the elements having to walk long stretches of ballast on little sleep at some ridiculous witching hour.
Finally I’ll discuss the money. I know that’s the most important part. The job is a very inconvenient one but you do get paid very well for the inconvenience. You’re also provided with good health benefits that include options for dental and life insurance. You also pay into you’re own retirement and have a 401K and stock options with the company.
These are only a few of the aspects of working for the railroad and I hope I have answered a few of your questions at least. If any of what I’ve described sounds overly appealing to you I’ll support your decision and help in any way I can but I honestly feel that you would be better off aiming for a career where your education would better serve you and help you get ahead in your field. Again I hope this has helped in your decision making.
I knew from the beginning when I began my career as a conductor for the railroad that I was not required to have any higher education than a high school diploma. Having a higher degree does not help your seniority or earn you any favor if you are working in the transportation area of things. This job is very blue collar and it is my assumption that most college graduates are not looking for a job as physically demanding and frustrating as the railroad. So I responded to the inquiry accordingly. I didn’t want to sugarcoat anything and the person I chose to write this to would be appalled to work in the conditions that I described and would not like the position at all. I don’t want to discourage someone from applying if they really want to but I think that a graduate would be much better off in a field where their new degree would actually serve a purpose.