• Advice Needed - NS M.OW Management Trainee offer

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by Krystian
 
Hey guys,

I am a recent college graduate seeking some advice from experienced railroaders that can give me an honest opinion about working in the rail industry. I have successfully passed the Norfolk Southern hiring process for the Maintenance of Way Management Trainee position. The job is offered to me. After doing a little bit of research I am surprised with the amount of negative feedback from the online community about the position! Seeing comments such as "you will never see you friends and family" , "you will work 12-14 hours a day" , "you will be getting calls at night" , "you will be hated by the labor force" have really started to question my view on the position and whether I should accept the offer...

Since graduating from college 2 months ago with a civil engineering degree I got an internship with a mid size general contractor in my area. The internship will turn into a permanent job, as I was recently told by the boss. I am happy with the current job, but I also have the urge to travel and work for a big company while I am young.

Can someone speaking from experience give me some honest feedback about the position offered to me, the company, and some advice ?
  by Georgia Railroader
 
I can't speak for the MOW dept. as I am in transportation. In my department we aren't crazy about managers being hired off the street or out of college. It's nothing personal, I just feel like if you are going to supervise me and try to nail me for rule violations and tell me how to do my job, I would prefer you to at least know what you are talking about from experience. I feel like management positions should be filled by those who come up from the ranks, those that have paid dues out here.

Now that I've voiced my opinion(and that of many) I will tell you that this aint no 9 to 5 job. It's tough on family life. You will work long hours, you will get calls at all hours of the night, and your ass will be on the chopping block when the * hits the fan. It can indeed be a cold place.
  by Gadfly
 
Krystian wrote:Hey guys,

I am a recent college graduate seeking some advice from experienced railroaders that can give me an honest opinion about working in the rail industry. I have successfully passed the Norfolk Southern hiring process for the Maintenance of Way Management Trainee position. The job is offered to me. After doing a little bit of research I am surprised with the amount of negative feedback from the online community about the position! Seeing comments such as "you will never see you friends and family" , "you will work 12-14 hours a day" , "you will be getting calls at night" , "you will be hated by the labor force" have really started to question my view on the position and whether I should accept the offer...

Since graduating from college 2 months ago with a civil engineering degree I got an internship with a mid size general contractor in my area. The internship will turn into a permanent job, as I was recently told by the boss. I am happy with the current job, but I also have the urge to travel and work for a big company while I am young.

Can someone speaking from experience give me some honest feedback about the position offered to me, the company, and some advice ?
I can't say that being a freshly-minted college grad on the railroad is a peachy, keen job. Railroading is a complex, dangerous job. As a retired NS man, I can tell you that, yes, the greenhorn "shavetail" is sometimes resented by the line employees because they DO know that the manager-trainee or newbie has no real clue. It sometimes happens that the manager refuses to listen to the advise of long-experienced railroaders, and it is quite absurd that he can take people out of service for possible infractions he himself has no understanding of! And, yes, when you first start, the hours can be VERY long, and you are gone most weeks. Managers relocate all over the system, so expect to move a lot--something your family (if any) may not appreciate. Pressure is VERY high, and so is the responsibility for knowing the Rules of both Conduct and Operating. Young managers often quit to go into other less stressful occupations. If you can stick it out, yes, the rewards will be great with an unbeatable retirement and bennies. But it takes a LOT to endure it.

An employee who is "stepped up", or promoted has one advantage over the greenhorn. Managers can be FIRED without recourse within the law. The promoted employee, who was represented by his Union and pays an "agency fee", may retain his seniority rights (with certain guidelines) and "go back on his tools" as we say on NS, and keep right on working---even tho he was let go by the Company (except for some grievous offenses). You, OTH, have no such option. IF you get fired, you're fired and thats it! :( Bye Bye! When its said and done, only YOU can make the right choice. I wish I could say that this is the best management job I know of, but I honestly can't say that. I wish you a successful career if you choose to take it!

GF
  by Safetee
 
working for a carrier such as ns in their engineering department as a trainee is far different and much less problematic than working as a trainmaster trainee. you may work long hours, thats the railroad way, but you will be paid well. you will have many paths for fast advancement if you are willing to travel/relocate fequently, learn the track craft well and have the ability to lead others to perform in a safe and productive manner.

if you are responsible/aka mature, like railroads, engineering, and enjoy working with other people to solve probelms, you'd be crazy not to give NS the nod. it's a fantastic opportunity for a young person at a time when there arent that many fantastic career opportunities for young people.