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Western Railroad Discussion > RR work and a positive family life


Date: 05/10/01 16:31
RR work and a positive family life
Author: walleye

Can anyone share any encouraging words about working for the RR and their experience with still having a good family life? Do most say working in train service has had a mostly negative impact on their kids and wife?

There are many issues for me about accepting a position in train service(safety, furlough, etc) but the one I'm most concerned about is the impact it will have on my wife(12 years married) and 3 1/2 year old son. I'll have to put the little guy in daycare now;-( but then again I think he'll be starting school in 2 years also.

I've never worked a regular 9-5 job in my life and I go through similar scheduling conficts with the family on my schedule(long continuous days of 12 hour shifts, working most holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc) that RR workers do BUT minus the time away from home. However, during my time away from work I work very hard at making awake time, good quality time with the family. Can I still have a quality family life if I continue making the time with the family while working in train service or does the factor of the time away from home make all the difference in the world?

I know this is a decision I'll have to make with my family but would like to hear other accounts.

Thanks for the feedback:-)



Date: 05/10/01 18:02
RE: RR work and a positive family life
Author: knucklepin2001

This all depends on where you here out at,either a major terminal or a small whistle stop kinda place.I work out of Ft Worth a major rail hub for both the UP and BNSF.Sometimes the boards turn every eigth hours (we get a three hour call and it takes me 45 minutes to get to the yard from the house,so there goes your 8 hours out the freakin' window!!)sometimes you get a day off without laying off(if you get more than 24 hours off come monday CMS will start cutting,like they did last monday not thinking this is a pay day and a holiday weekend,duh!).But what other job can you think of that you can have any day of the week off just by saying the word? There are alot of things that are wrong with RR life,but there are also some positives as well!!!



Date: 05/10/01 18:54
RE: RR work and a positive family life
Author: Interstate

While the money isn't as good, working for a decent shortline can offer a pretty good quality of life......nobody on a road job at our RR works more than four days per week unless they want to....our turn jobs are seldom gone from home more than 35 hours and then there off for a day and half. We have old power, don't make as much money, but it makes for a nice family life.



Date: 05/10/01 20:42
RE: RR work and a positive family life
Author: 4merroad4man

A good family life and railroad work are not mutually exclusive. Your home and family life will be what you and your family make of it under the most trying circumstances, and railroading is far from the most difficult of situations.
My children know that when I come in off a run, I am tired, and generally need some space to unwind, but they also know from experience over the years that I will always make time for them, no matter what kind of day I've had.
My wife fully understands the demands placed upon me, the unreasonable hours and the times being away. With seniority have come better hours, better assignments and less time away.
Yes, I have missed countless high school football games, recitals and ballets. I have made it a point to be there for birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
My kids have seen the give-and-take, the priority setting in our private lives that comes as part of working for a railroad. In a sense, their observations have made them better people, more capable of setting priorities based on sound judgement learned from watching my wife and I live a railroad life.
My family will be the first to say that it is not an ideal life for everyone, and it is difficult at times. But they do agree on the fact that the life we have all led has been pretty darned good overall, and the railroad was and is a big part of that.
If you need more insight, e mail me and I'll be glad to share some specifics with you.



Date: 05/10/01 23:33
RE: RR work and a positive family life
Author: RioRat

walleye wrote:

> I've never worked a regular 9-5 job in my life and I go through
> similar scheduling conficts with the family on my schedule(long
> continuous days of 12 hour shifts, working most holidays,
> anniversaries, birthdays, etc) that RR workers do BUT minus the
> time away from home.

Time away fom home is not really bad on the RR, as most round trips last about 36 hrs +/-. The hard part of road jobs is being on call 24/7 with no scheduled days off, not knowing when you will or won't be at work from one day (or part thereof) to the next. That's where the RR "schedule" is different than just about anything else.

Regardless of work hours or schedule, most other people can tell you in advance whether or not they're available to do something next Thursday night, May 17. A railroader truly can't say one way or the other.

Your family will need to be very forgiving of this since plans get broken at the last minute by an unexpected call, or you pass up an event, expecting to go to work, only to find that you don't get called and could have attended.

I hope this helps. I don't mean to imply that railroading on the road is the world's worst job. Most parts, in fact are very good, but the lifestyle can be hard to get used to.



Date: 05/11/01 10:19
RE: RR work and a positive family life
Author: braska

Only you and your wife can decide how or if this is a wise choice. I talk with a lot of other railroaders in my club and each has a different point of veiw. The railroad is a love/hate kinda job. You gotta love it (no matter what anyone says or they wouldn't be there 30 years) but you also gotta hate it. Its a tough unprdictable life style with your life being put in the hands of unknown people running the dispatch center and running the oncomming traffic, its extremely dangerous and virtually no scheduled life style about it, BUT the railroads are(?) trying to make better schedules and for your life style and maybe in time you can have a home life.



Date: 05/11/01 10:33
RE: RR work the Lure of the big bucks
Author: oldrail

The lure of the big bucks is what makes it tough for many families.
We had lots of guys who considered it a dead loss if they didn't have their lunch bucket in their hand twice a day. Too many work 8 days a week.

When I had the chance to go out on the mainline many years ago, I thought it over, the 3am call, the Sunday call, all the rest of it.
I then decided to stay in the yard. I made a lot less $$ but, I always knew when I was going to work, and when I was going home. I was also assured of the same 2 days a week off. Yes, I made a lot less money but, you learn to live on what you make, and kinda miss the mainline, (went out sometimes), but, I HAD A LIFE! Now retired.

More guys need to get a life, book rest, BOOK OFF.



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