Friday, December 29, 2006

Things I've learned

Some things I've learned in the past few months:
1) You can actually do your job while sound asleep. Coupling and uncoupling a cut of rail cars and shoving them into a cane-loading elevator siding can be a challenge when totally asleep, but it can be done. So is getting on and off moving locomotives. Do it enough times and you just go through the motions like an automaton.
2) Working seven day's a week with no breaks for months on end does fabulous things to one's attitude, demeanor and awareness for one's surroundings...
3) When one has been working seven day's a week with no breaks and finally does take a day off, it is very possible for that person to actually sleep for twenty-four hours straight.
4) Money isn't everything.
5) Sleep is everything.
I have quite a few decisions to make in the next few months... I have several options open to me at this stage of the game. Important decisions. Ones that I shan't take lightly. Ones that involve Texas, Washington, Idaho, Louisiana and Alaska... And even here in Florida. All have to do with the railroad.
I'm at a crossroads of a sort and with everything else going on I'm finding it more and more difficult to decide just what is it I should do. I know, whatever decision I make I'm going to upset or hurt someone along the way, but I know in my heart of hearts this can't be helped. I'm leaning strongly right now in one or two areas and I'll elaborate more when it becomes clearer in my mind.
I do know this, it will relate to the railroad. That is my one and ultimate goal... I was born for this job and no matter how much money I can make at another job, if I'm not happy with what I'm doing, I'll be no good at anything and be miserable.
I'll relate this story I heard a few years ago. It involved this high-powered Wall Street broker. Made buckets of money... Had the huge house, nice cars... He had everything. One day he chucked it all and went to Africa to work in the Peace Corps. His friends and family were horrified... His reply to them? "What's making two million a year, living where you really don't want to be and being miserable and making a dollar a day and being truly happy?"
I can really identify.
I opt for happiness.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden


AlaskaJen said...

By the same token a job is just a job and if someday you can't do the job anymore but your life is centered around your job, what then?

weatherchazer said...

I have this conversaton on a weekly basis with my hubby...Money is just icing, happiness needs to come from something/somewhere/someone else (at least you like your job- I despise mine!)

cmk said...

At least you are headed in the right direction: happiness IS worth taking a lower paying job! You HAVE to be content in your life. Go with your gut feelings--ultimately, you REALLY know what is right for you, even if you can't see it, yet.

mist1 said...

I took a easy job once just to be able to live without the stress of work. It was a beautiful year. It eased me nicely into not working at all.

Burg said...

Always remember that you never see tombstones that read "I should have spent more time at work."

You'll do the right thing.

Ranger Tom said...

It's not what some of you are thinking... I'm not "Living to Work".

Right now my job requires me to work the hours I've been working, but it's for a finite period. And now that I've gotten the experience I need, I have a lot more options open to me for getting on with a larger, full time railroad where the hours will be nowhere near as crazy as this.

Doing what I was meant to do is where the happiness comes from though.

Here's what I mean. Just suppose I live in someplace that what a lot of people would consider paradise... Hawaii for example. I lived in Hawaii, made great money, had the "Beuatiful house, with the beautiful wife..." to quote The Talking Heads... And hated my job? Sure, it would have it's benefits, but if I hated to get up in the morning and slogging into work, what kind of life would that be?

I loved Arizona. I loved the weather, the monsoons in the summer... The night skys... But in essence I hated my job with a passion and I was miserable,exacerbated by the fact that I really never wanted to move away from my friends and family to start with and only did it to please my wife and my mood directly effected everything around me and eventually forced my wife to leave me for another man, leaving me with nothing.

So that's what I mean. I've said it hundreds of times here in the last few months, I WILL work for a railroad full time and refuse to settle for anything less, no matter where it is. I'm not going to "Settle" for anything less anymore just to please someone else. When it comes down to nuts and bolts, I am ultimately the one who has to be happy to make anything work.

My family and close friends are upset with me because of my decisions, but if I listened to everyone else like I have for the past 41 years I'd quickly revert to that old, misreable Ranger Tom that NOBODY would like.

I really like who I've become. I like where I'm going. And I'm going to get there, come hell or high water.

cmk said...

As I said: YOU know what is right for YOU--no one else does. Just go with your gut and do what you need to! And, yes, that is one of the wonderful benefits about getting older--we start listening a lot more to our inner selves and less to those around us. It sure has been working for me! :)

Fathairybastard said...

Well, here's an idea. Figure out which job would be the coolest; best surroundings, money, future, stability, etc, if all those things can come together, and go for it. You'll do the right thing. Whatever combination of things makes you happy. That's the thing. The folks who love you will dig it, if they really love ya. If not, fuck em.