COEN77 wrote:Not really, Most people I've known since I've worked out here retired when they had age and time. There will always be those exceptions that will stay longer it's a very small percentage. I can still remember the date I became considered an oldhead it was Jan 3, 1986. In early fall of 1985 we were hit by a hurricane which flooded the James River and wiped out 200 miles of track. We routed trains over the Peidmont and North Mountian Subs and rebuilt the tracks between Clifton Forge and Richmond those who were retiring stayed around to help and after it was complete about 17 engineers retired on Jan 3, 1986. Up to that point working on the railroad 9 years I endured everything happening today with furloughs, having to travel distances in my seniority district to work, permanently transferring to other locations to work, living in bunkhouses on property when forced to outlining locations ect...some of these you'll never go through. It all boils down to just paying your dues nothing should be just handed to anyone.
We have several who could have retired years ago working well into their seventies.
While I understand the trials of what many had to endure to continue working, I have to tell folks that the work history of many railroaders who came up through all that is not so different from what many of us on the outside endured..at least in the shrinking Northeast.
The benefit to those who did stick it out and the resulting wisdom of it is the continuing seniority and retirement at the end of the line.
Many of us who may have wanted to work alongside you years ago but were unable to find the way in, have lost jobs to other states, countries, and continents several times
. We had to use any pension money accrued to get by until the next job (before 401k days). In 1977 I finally left NY after being laid off for the 3rd time (should never have come back).
Some companies downsized, others out-shopped, others closed completely. In an area where a man or woman could once find a job paying reasonably well within 15-30 miles, now sends its folks on a 50-60-70 mile commute one way. The better factory jobs are fewer and fewer each year. Many, many people have thrown in the towel and volunteered to become paid prisoners for 8 hours a day (corrections officers) or work for some other government entity, but you know that kind of work isn't for everyone (at least not for me!).
I even left home and lived in the sleeper of an 18-wheeler for a couple of years (thinking of the rr bunkhouses). That's about like being a turtle with your house on your back!
We all have come through alot. Those who started with a RR and ended with a RR were tenacious, lucky, smart, wise, and a whole lot of other stuff. Anybody who is NOT an educated professional (people like us) who has come through the last 30 years and kept his bills mostly paid, etc. has done a pretty fair job, all things considered.
We gotta remember we're all more alike than we are different.