This is the story of how me not being allowed to talk to the yardmasters and my level 3/Behavior modification.
A couple years after i hired out a guy on the midnight goat got hurt and lost his leg above the ankle ( i wasnt there that night ) so the MTO at the time thought if he took the quit away on midnights that guys wouldnt go out there and try so hard to get the quit. Well me being the way i am, i didnt think that rule should apply to me. I was on the brakemans extra board back then, and the trainmasters use to shoot the board to get me called for the midnight goat because they enjoyed having me there because i would get alot of work done, i didnt mind it one bit, i liked the fact they they knew how good i was at switching, and i always got my quit. So the first night i showed up and got word of the way things were gonna be on nights i told the tower, send me to beans and ill go home sick on you. I said it nice and calm, no anger in my voice, just let him know that me working under that "new" rule wasnt gonna get him alot of cars switched. Well that all went along good for about the first month or so with out any problems. ( think i caught it about 15 times in 30 days ) Untill the two yardmasters had enough of me telling them what i was gonna do vs. me doing what they say. I got pulled aside nicely by a trainmaster and was told that i was riding the line of being insubordinate/disobedient by telling the tower, give me my quit or else. I understood but i said im not gonna go out there and bust ass and put on a kickass show like i normally would. I told the tower the same, and ya....... they didnt wanna hear that, let the games begin. (the yardmaster was as hard headed as me, we are alot alike) I showed up to work happy and chipper just like i always did, but i was too tied up in having fun at work, and not getting alot of work done, was happy on the radio, glad to go to beans, happy when i came back, more than happy to get overtime, anything they did to try to piss me off i took with a smile. They got soo sick of me that they said "no more talking to the tower", that will fix that problem. So when i was on the lead and needed to ask the tower something, id have to walk my happy ass down the lead, tell my helper what i needed, and then he would have to relay the message, a couple months, maybe closer to a year, i moved to a conductor spot on a night local, then took engine service soon after that, then got added as a hog in the yard. I was told again by my MOP, not to talk to the tower, thats when i got the, unless someone was dead, or something burning, no talking. They tried hosing me from time to time to see if i would flare up, but i didnt, i would walk across to the depot with a smile. Well one night the trainmaster and my forman got into it, i was told to leave the yard office and go get on my goat, tower was upset we were in the shack soo long after coming back from beans. So i walked out, got on, and after about 5 minutes the yardmaster started yelling "hello westend..... hello westend...." i sat there not saying a word, just like i was told, and then i had enough, i answered his call on the radio, "WHAT THE HELLS GOING ON THERE, GET MOVING" I came uncorked, "you sicked the trainmaster on us...... so here i sit" My MOP and the MTO just got back from a night of testing and caught the yardmaster coming down from the tower. My MOP called me off my goat, i told him what happened and why i talked on the radio, he understood, but he also said you better watch you back, he's pissed, i thought he was gonna punch holes in the walls. Well that scared me pretty good, i took his advice, he's a big guy, he could beat on me for an hour and not break a sweat. He (yardmaster) went golfing that morning with another freind of mine and told him the story of what happened and he said, " i thought he was gonna hit me he was soo pissed off" About 6 months after that, i got my best freind on and we became a good switching team on midnights, he would kick the cars out as fast as i pulled them up the lead, we were the best of the best. We would get an ungodly amount of work done, get a quit and all things were happy, and we were all good freinds and got along good together. Well then RCL came, i got booted out of the chair, and once again they thought that working us for 8 hours was the best way to keep getting the same amount of work done, Wrong..... me and my best buddy paired up again on a switch job. We told them we hate this box, let us work 6 hours, get our quit and we'll get out there and get as much work done as we can vs. going out there not caring about the work and spend more time having fun. We had a couple snags with a new yardmaster for awhile untill he got the hint, you make us happy, we'll make you happy. Things were great, guaranteed quit no matter what problems we had, trains leaving, coming in, box messing up. Didnt matter, we gave her the best we could for 6 then called it a day. One day a week we would catch the yardmaster i had run-ins with. He wanted alot from us, somedays we got it all done, some days we didnt, but we sure tryed hard. Well during RCL i wanted to have gave the boxes to the trainmaster, tied up, and be walking to my truck at or before 6 hours. Our 6 hours was at 9:30 and he saw us coming around at 9:15, 9:10 maybe, somewhere around that time, asked us if we gotter all done. I said nope, all but one list. Well my buddy in the tower must have been having a bad day, he started ripping us on the radio. We turned our radios off, turned the goat radio all the way down so we didnt have to hear him vent on us. We parked the goat, i gave the boxes back, tied up and we left. Well i guess he told us to go get some beans and we could come back and finish our work. I had no clue, trainmaster must not have had his radio on in his office i guess eather, he didnt say anything when i gave him the boxes. Well i guess after about 15 minutes after i hit the shack without talking to the tower he got a little upset. When i showed up for work the next afternoon to go get the boxes from the MTO who was my freind he said he was upset with me, wouldnt tell me why, just that he was disappointed with me. Even at that point i still didnt know what i had done wrong. A couple days later the mailman made a stop to hand me some certified mail, failure to follow yardmasters instuctions with my MTO buddies name on it. I talked to my yardmaster buddy and explained that i turned him off because i didnt want to start up again and thats why i didnt hear him about going to beans and why i didnt talk to him on the speaker in the shack. Well i talked to him and talked to my MTO, both told me not to sign my letter i got, but i did. Told my MTO "this is a good one for you buddy, cant be too nice or they will run you off. With behavior mod the arresting officer has to do a check up every so often to see that it's working. He said "how am i suppost to follow up on this one?"...."just call the tower and ask him if im doing as im told" Thats how i got my level 3/behavior mod and a good chunk of my score taken away.
I once told this old head brakeman buddy of mine "i wanna be famous, do something no one will forget". He said "kid....in my 30 years ive been here..... ive never saw anyone not be able to talk to the tower.... your already famous" Me and my yardmaster made up that day i went up there and talked to him, we are still freinds and get along really good, i dont hold any grudges, i did tie up and go home without permission so i wasnt upset at any point during that little episode. Crazy life on the railroad, had i done that at Wal-mart i would have been canned along time ago. I do more good than bad at work, and i think they see that.