What keeps people in the rail industry? (Michele Malski)

Michelle Malski (SPRING) Spacing

The same thing that brought people into the rail industry: The excitement of conquest, the hope of a new, challenging, and high paid career, progressing forward with unknown limits to growth. The growth that is possible if companies embrace proper succession planning methods and training channels for employees to explore, unlocks progression paths. With a map and mentors along the way for success, we, as candidates, want to grow and make our ancestors or mentors proud, as corny as it sounds. The rail industry from Class I’s to Short Lines, suppliers, and commuter rail systems all offer unique opportunities that are partly fluid. What I mean is, as railroaders we wear many hats, and what our jobs started as sometimes morphs into what we are best at. Accountants may start to specialize in demurrage, trainmasters may start to specialize in hazmat knowledge and training, our jobs are so connected, that no matter what department you are in, there are many opportunities to merge ideas and explore new opportunities which are only a phone call away. Our industry is rich with history, and it’s tied to many families' generational pride. When candidates come and work for our industry, the phrase “it’s in our blood” is certainly explanation enough for how we start to care for each other. We operate at first as individuals learning our jobs, who then become a part of a team in the workplace, and after working together safely for years, we become a family that looks out for each other. And when conditions change, and we need a new route to see or safety briefings to hear, a majority of us will never leave the industry. We wouldn’t want to leave an industry that has provided for us in various ways benefiting ourselves, our families, and our communities. In essence, our involvement in the rail industry grows roots, and we want to continue to build what we started for a sustainable and successful tomorrow.