Work Friends

My work friends are pretty cool.  We all have a job to do and we each play a different role to achieve a common goal. We are in the business of servicing customers and moving trains. Everyone knows that, and we all work hard at it.

Here’s my brief history: 

I started at the job being a conductor/switchman.  I loved it.  Even during the rainy season, night shifts, scorching hot summer days and frigid cold winter months. The fact that I could work outside was a great change from my previous jobs. I grew and learned and showed respect to all of my coworkers.  Within three months of hiring on, I was a qualified switchman.  


Three months after that, I applied to take on another role. A role that I shouldn’t have been able to take on since the requirements from the company were that I must have two years experience switching on the ground. But since I was a go-getter and fairly quick at learning, I passed the testing and interview process and started my training as “Traffic Coordinator” aka Yardmaster. I barely knew the yard layout, but with my confidence and no fear ability to ask for help when needed, I became one of the best and most respected Yardmasters in the terminal. 

I had been a Yardmaster and switchman for the majority of my career in the railroad.  As I mentioned back in December: Changing It Up, I took on yet another role at my work. I went from a Union position to a management role as an “Assistant Trainmaster”. Now instead of directing crews as a Yardmaster- I now needed to look at a grander picture by focusing on train building, inbound/outbound workload, and the trains much further out from just our terminal. Because I never changed my personality and had years of experience in the railroad, the change was seemless.  The switchmen, engineers and Yardmasters appreciated the fact that I was knowledgeable. 

Much like when I started as a conductor, I wasn’t satisfied with just being an Assistant Trainmaster. Over the past few months, I pushed my learning and expanded my abilities.  I found out what I needed to learn to get to the next level and pursued it.  I went out and accomplished it by asking my coworkers questions, putting myself out there and taking on the challenge.  

A little gift from my children.


With the help of Trainmasters, Assistant Superintendents and people in other departments, I learned as much as I could.  My goal was accomplished in seven months.  Again, this is a goal that would take most around two years to achieve. I am now a Trainmaster, not an Assistant Trainmaster any more.

No one will look at my career path and just hand me a promotion. I knew I could accomplish my goal, and so the pressure was on.  No pressure from the upper management, it was a pressure I put on myself.  By asking questions and demanding more of myself, I hit my goal. I appreciate everything that everyone has done for me.

A big thank you to everybody who helped me along the way.  I appreciate it all.

One comment

  1. Frank Moore · July 14, 2017

    Congrats on the promo, Joe. I didn’t realize you were so green when you started traffic coordinating. Very brave of you. It’s sort of like lying about your age to get in the army! All the best to you in the new job!

    Liked by 1 person

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