Friday, October 07, 2005

Plan "B"

Lack of sleep does catch up with you... I laid down for a "nap" yesterday around noon... Just coming out of the coma a while ago at 1AM... First Monday and Tuesday with the long sleeps, now today. My whole body hurts now. I hate that.

Anyway, right after my "A beautiful evening" post where I intimated that I had another interview to go to with Norfolk~Southern, I've gotten a lot of emails asking "How'd it go?"


Like I said, a few weeks ago I went to yet another "Hiring Session" with Norfolk~Southern railroad for a conductor's position. The railroad doesn't have firemen or brakemen anymore, so it's just the conductor and engineer in the cab of the locomotive and the conductor is the next step in becoming an engineer. My boyhood dream.

This one will make the 5th I've been to since January, and it is getting a bit frustrating.

How it works is, you go to a local hotel's conference room and sit there with about 300 other people who want the same job. Most times there is only a few positions open for thee location, this time it was three conductor's slots, and with 300 guys in one room, it can be really competitive.

So, now you are there first thing in the morning and the first thing that happens is a person from the HR department gives you the Company Line on how great N&S is, blah, blah, blah. The the local supervisor gets up and tells all about the job in question, pay, work hours, conditions, shit like that. Then they hand out applications, which you fill out and turn back in. They then give you a ten minute smoke break and during that time they go through the pile of applications. It's there they make the first cut.

This time, as opposed to the last few times, I didn't even make it through the first cut but the nimrod sitting next to me did. I actually saw him scribble out his name three times... How can this guy get held for further testing and he couldn't even spell his own Goddamn name?


After you make the first cut, they'll give you a Hogan Personality test and an aptitude test. The last session I was to in Roanoke I passed both and was held over for the final part in the afternoon. Yes, it is an all-day affair.

So, the last time out of approximately 400 people there, it was weeded down to eight of us for four positions. Great I thought. I've got a 50/50 chance on getting hired, and after I thought about it, I had more than enough qualifications. I have a solid work history (Only four jobs, long-term in the past 18 years, the longest, the PD was 10 years) Have worked on the railroad as a contractor, know the signals and CFR rules, have a current certified on-track worker's card, am single with no dependents and can travel anywhere I chose and not have any responsibilities other than to work.

So I get called for the oral interview.

First question to me: "Well, by your application, it doesn't look like you've had much outside work..."

What? Who's application are you reading? It certainly isn't mine. How the fuck do you not consider ten years as a cop not "outside work"? Especially since the first two years I was a beat cop... And the ten months last year working on a track gang?

So right then and there I knew I wasn't going to get called. Then this last time I wasn't even held over for the second half of the session. It's beginning to seem to me that they've already made up their minds on who they're going to hire before the day is even started. I'm not being paranoid at all when I say I'm beginning to suspect this whole system is rigged.

Those of you who have been long-time readers here know why I left the PD and why I want to become a railroad engineer so I won't rehash it right now. But I will say it's what I've always wanted to do. I want it so bad I can taste it.


But I've got to start looking at the realities of life. Starting right now, I'm giving myself another year to get hired. Twelve more months only. I've set a deadline. I'm not going to beat a dead horse and I'm going to use the experience in what I know to my advantage if I can even make that work.

I have a BS degree in criminal justice. Between the Army, Police and private security work I've done, I have about 22 years experience.

I'm just now starting to do some research on starting my own security consulting firm. Not providing security but doing audits on companies and letting them know what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong, training security staff, stuff like that.

I'm not tied down to here in West Virginia either. There's nothing really permanent here to keep me. I really wish there was, but there isn't. If there was something to keep me here I'd stay in a heartbeat. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, lived in Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arizona and overseas. So I could go anywhere in the country and make it work, it doesn't have to be here. I know the nuts and bolts of it inside and out, but I'm clueless on the business and marketing side. So I've got a shitload of research yet to do.

So, a year from now I'll either be a railroad conductor on my way to becoming and engineer, or I'll be in business for myself.

Only time will tell... But either way I will make it happen.

As an aside, and I couldn't help to see the irony in it, back in early August I had an interview with a large department store chain for a loss-prevention manager's position. I won't say which one it was, but it's the second largest in the US and Martha Stewart is THE major stockholder... The interview went smashingly well, and the guy who interviewed me was going to call me for a second one with the regional manager. He was falling all over himself trying to sweet-talk me. He gave me the impression that the job was mine if I wanted it.

Did I want it? Shit yes! It was DOUBLE what I was making now, Monday through Friday daywork with weekends off. Plus a shitload of other perks.

So, did he ever call me back?

Fuck no.

But who do I see at the last railroad hiring session?

You guessed it. And funny, he wouldn't look at me for some strange reason... I knew he recognized me.

He didn't get called either. Who says there's no God?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden


Tina said...

Things will eventually go your way....when you least expect it....things will fall into place. You gotta do what you gotta do though. It will all work out.

Blogdreamz said...

I went to one of those job fairs where there were hundreds of people applying for all kinds of positions. What a long and boring day. I felt like a piece of merchandise in an assemble line. Had to go to this room and that room etc. Well, needless to say that I got a position at this new store that was opening up. For my 13+ years of retail they only wanted to pay me a lousy $9 an hour. I still had a job in Retail at the present time and was making more than that. Nope, didn't take the job.

honkeie2 said...

make you feel like an unwanted prostitute huh?

Ranger Tom said...

Tina: I know, it just gets frustrating is all.

Dreamz: This is a little different, it's for only one type od job, but a handfull maybe three of four positions open

Honkeie: Yeah, it does. Also like pissing your pants in a dark suit. You get a warm feeling but nobody notices

Sydney said...

you know, I consider myself to be fairly intelligent. You know, not the brightest person in the world, but not stupid either. yet every job I've ever gotten, every good job, has all been about who I've known. EVEN my first job with the state of Texas. So... If there is anyway you can get an "in" and I mean even up to and including searching blogs and websites for references to the railroad, I'd do it.

Sydney said...

p.s. why does it look you're picking your nose in that baby picture

Ranger Tom said...

Syd: I do know people... Still no help. And as far as my baby pic... Look a little closer!

dasi said...

You know, I have an uncle who was an engineer. Sadly, he is institutionalized now with dementia... Now, I don't want to jump to conclusions or anything, but he seemed ok until he one day just never got off the train...

Kidding, really! Well, not about the conductor or dementia part, but I really don't think one begat the other. For your sake, I hope not, at least! I plan on trying to get through more of your archives today when Satan (my boss) leaves, which hopefully will be soon. I'm enjoying your comments, and am looking forward to reading more of your work...

And hang in there - don't they say "good things come to those who wait"? (Yeah, whatever. I hear you, waiting really sucks.)

Ranger Tom said...

dasi: I'm beginning to feel like I'm a bit demented just for even trying anymore...

I'm really sorry to hear about your uncle though, I can't really think of a worse way to go.

Lindsey said...

I can't believe he never called you back for an interview...dammit!
But there's always other prospects.

Sydney said...

Yeah, I know, it looks like you picked a big golden nugget out of your nose and know you have it on the tip of your finger giving the bird to the world.

Fact is, you were both a nose picker and a little bit of a rebel from day 1...

Sydney said...

Yeah, I know, it looks like you picked a big golden nugget out of your nose and know you have it on the tip of your finger giving the bird to the world.

Fact is, you were both a nose picker and a little bit of a rebel from day 1...

Airforce Guy said...

I think you should stick with the trains Tommy. You always talked about it and I know you really want that.

Bev said...

That's the worst: Going to an interview and feeling like it's a done deal, the job's in the bag and then it turns out otherwise. What the hell?! I've been dealing with that for the past 4 months. Hopefully, it's over soon.