Somber Day

Today was not a feel good kind of day. I could sense the heaviness in everyone I spoke with. The change in their voice, the look in their eyes, their posture dropping. All of it a reminder of what a tragedy can do to all of those around.

Dealing with the loss of a coworker who is close to you or a person you’ve met periodically can feel brutal. It’s still a loss. It’s still able to affect you. Talking about it changes the atmosphere of a room almost instantly. Seeking emotional help is all that I can suggest to people.

I may not be in the union any more, but I know where my roots stem from in the railroad and respect the difficulty of each and every situation. There’s no happy ending today. No joking or laughing. Rather a sobering reminder that where we work can be devastating and take a good person’s life without warning.

Staff Christmas Party

Last night my wife and I attended my work Christmas Party at my boss’s home. After a long day of watching our son at Speed Skating, it was nice to get out and socialize. And my coworkers enjoy socializing!

I’m the kind of person who generally gets things going at various events- be it a wedding or party. I don’t mean getting out of hand and crazy. I mean I’m usually the first one at the food table gathering nun-nums and starting the conversation of what foods I tried. Last night was no exception. I also tend to place myself down in a good spot that many people “stop by” and strike up conversations.

As the evening progressed, everyone let loose a bit more. A couple coworkers cleared off the dining room table for a beer pong tournament, while others shared some of their more fancier alcohols. Music, jokes and great conversations were happening. I had to cut my evening short about three hours in. It was already a long day, plus I had to be up early for work. My coworkers were getting up to some shenanigans and I’m sure some fun stories will be shared at the water cooler this week.

Working with a hangover is for the young these days. I haven’t wanted to push my limits lately as there are already plenty of stories of my insobriety out there. Even my kids have a few.

As we left, I thanked our hosts for the hospitality. My boss’s wife is quite amazing at cooking and baking it seems. There was a lovely spread of appetizers and treats laid out. As we were leaving, I asked for her recipe on how she made the doughnuts. She mentioned that it’s on her blog in which I follow. Honestly, I didn’t know that I followed her specifically, because I enjoy a variety of blogs. But there she was, and her first blog post- Doughnuts! I may have to try my hand at deep frying something beyond savory goodies one day.

Just a friendly reminder- If you are out at holiday parties please make sure you have a safe ride home. As embarrassing as being a bit tipsy may be the next day, having a “next day” is more important.

My Wife’s Coworkers

I attended my first ever Baseball Game last night courtesy of my wife’s work. Meaning that this event was with my wife’s coworkers instead of mine like we usually do. This time I got to be my wife’s “Plus One” and meeting her coworkers IRL was a neat experience. I’ve heard so much about them and I’ve occasionally “seen” them while they do video conferencing. But to talk and mingle with them in person was neat. Kind of like an extended family that I’d never met but could relate to easily.

The energy within the large group was astounding. Laughs and photos were going on while food and beverages were being consumed. Lots of SHOP talk was happening. They all had a great time.

My wife’s coworkers really make her happy. She has developed some fantastic relationships with many of them. I’d say I’m jealous, but in reality I’m happy inside. I’m happy because my wife is happy- and she deserves this happiness the most..


364 days.

I have been a Trainmaster now for nearly one year. December 12,2016 I decided to “Change It Up“. Today is the last day that I can decide to return to the union and keep my seniority.

I took on the management role to challenge myself. For the most part, I’ve successfully navigated through the hurdles that I have set for myself. I’ve even taken on challenges put forth to me from my supervisors. But, over the past few days, work has been really stressful and busy; making me re-think my decision.

Going from union to manager was not without it’s difficulties. Most of my former coworkers accepted my decision without much animosity. There was a few moments of me having to exert my position as their supervisor, but that was fairly rare. The workload increased in some ways and decreased in others. I work 12 hour days now instead of 8, but I generally get a three day weekend every week.

Even though these past few days have been a rough ride, I won’t be returning to the union. I still respect those who I have worked with for nearly ten years and it was reciprocated as I took on my new role. I think the job I’m in now suits me better. I face mental challenges with a feeling of accomplishment nearly every shift. I have even made new friends with fellow managers and have had more of a social life than I did for the first while in my career.

I want to thank everyone again for the help and support as I took on this role. You’ve all been fantastic. Only one day left: Tomorrow is day 365.

The first day of the rest of my career.

Game 2: A Different View

Would you believe it if I told you that I’ve only ever seen two NHL games live?  Both within a week.  Both were free of charge from a couple of friends.  Five days ago I had a great experience where I was able to enjoy some one-on-one time with an old buddy.  (Read about it here: HockeyTonight’s game was with a larger group from my work, so the experience was very different.

I spoke previously about altering my career path at work (Read about it here: Changing It Up)  So naturally, I have entered into a different group of work friends.  I’ve always been friendly with my supervisors and I like to think of myself as a relatively nice guy who is easy to get along with.  I found it really welcoming to be invited to a hockey game less than two weeks after accepting my new position and join my fellow supervisors for a relaxing night out.  It was a blast.  

We started the night by talking about work for about five minutes, then went straight into just hanging out and having fun.  The fellow who got us the tickets had box seats in the 200 Club section.  All the pizza and drinks we could want was included.  

There was a large couch and a big screen tv showing the feed from the game as well.  So we could watch the game live or watch the game sort of live.  We wandered around and socialized, never really having an assigned seat.  The game was action packed.  (Our home team won this time).

A big thank you to my coworkers for being so gracious and fantastic.  It’s amazing how people have very different personalities outside of work.  It’s great that something such as work can bring a ragtag group of individuals together over a common bond and share some great laughs.

Maybe I don’t like you.

Yesterday I went to work.  (Like I do most days that I’m required to if I want a paycheck.)  For the most part, I really like the job and the people I work with.  During my shift yesterday a coworker said I do a pretty good job and asked me if I like my job on a scale of one to ten.  Ten being “Best Dream Job Ever” and one being “I wake up everyday wanting to shoot myself in the face.”  After some thought, I said I’d put my job at a 6.5-7 on most days.  

However… Occasionally there is someone I work with whom I just can’t stand.  There are only a select few actually.  Not bad considering there are a few hundred people that I deal with regularly including customers, supervisors, and people in other departments.  Working in an industry that has varied shifts and on-call workers is a blessing some days.  This means oftentimes I won’t be stuck dealing with those that I don’t like.

Back to yesterday- because it was the most recent situation.  I showed up to work to get the turnover from the fellow before me.  I trained him last year and he’s really good at his job (patting myself on the back here!).  He tells me that he is always thinking throughout his shift “What Would Josef Do?”  He always has the start of my shift set up for success.  When I turnover to the next Yardmaster, I do my best to leave them in good shape as well.  You never want to be “That Guy” who sucks at their job.  Trust me.  Those people get their names scrawled on bathroom walls… because hey, we are grown ups here.

Sometimes I think I need to keep my opinion to myself about which coworkers I like and don’t like.  But that can be difficult when you just need to get it off your chest.  I was talking with my fellow Yardmaster yesterday as he was finishing his shift and I was about to begin, I let it slip, nay outright mentioned, a coworker that I hated working with.  He laughed and said to me that that person earlier in the day mentioned how much they enjoy working with me.  Dammit-all-to-heck.  

I am usually overly kind to the people I can’t stand.  I knew I did this.  My wife has pointed it out to me as well.   It’s a fault I have.  Unfortunately it means that they think I enjoy their company.  

Trust me, if I liked you and wanted to be your friend, I’d treat you like shit.  Ask any of my close friends how nice I really am.