Thursday, June 2, 2011

[what to do.]

There is a new development in our little world... one that i am not quite ready to share with EVERYONE yet so it will go right here in my blog instead of all over Facebook.

Frank has the potential to land a spot as an Engineer in Training ("Fireman in Training" or "FIT") down in Longview, Texas. Longview is roughly 60 miles west of Shreveport, Louisiana.... up in the eastern corner of Texas.

As has become the standard this last year, we are yet again faced with a HUGE decision.

Naturally, both Frank and I agree that if we had nothing else to consider other than the opportunity itself, he should NOT pass this up. It's the golden ring. Being an Engineer is what every Railroader longs to be. The fact that he could become an Engineer during his first year with Union Pacific if HUGE. It also promises at least $15,000 more a year in pay and quite a bit of notoriety. (I have to mention that just because he finishes training as an Engineer, that does not ensure him an Engineering job... but it does give him a marketable skill and the potential to work as an Engineer. I will talk about that in a bit.)

Having said that, we have so many other things to consider, which makes this decision much more difficult to make. One thing we have learned during Franks employment with Union Pacific is that things can change in the blink of an eye. You can get bumped from one job to the next without warning, and right when you think that things make sense and that you have it figured out, the railroad will jerk the rug right out from under your feet.

The training itself takes roughly 6 months... and it starts on July 11th. If we choose to move the family down to Longview while Frank trains to be an Engineer, we have to consider there is a chance that once he is done training his sseniority as an Engineer in Longview might not be enough to ensure him an Engineering job out of Longview.

The railroad bases everything on Seniority. Franks Conductor seniority and Engineer seniority would be two separate things. Since Frank was hired on as a Conductor back in November of 2010, he has a bit of Seniority because other Conductors have been hired since then, and even out of his class he was the top of his class. If he is hired on as an Engineer on July 11th (which is when the training would start) he would have very little Engineer seniority.... and will have only accumulated a small bit by the time training is over and he needs to mark up on a job.

If he CANT hold an Engineering job out of Longview or Shreveport because he doesnt hold the Seniority needed, unfortunately there are no Conductor jobs that Frank could hold in either town as well. That means that Frank would have to work in Dallas/Fort Worth because that is where he has the best chance of holding a job because it is a bigger hub and most of the guys Frank holds Conductor Seniority over work there. He could bump one of them out and take their job. Keep in mind, Fort Worth is roughly 2 hours away from Longview.

We would be renting a house most likely, and usually they require a years lease. We get locked into a years lease, and there is a good chance that for 6 months Frank would be living and working seperate from us. I am not in love with that idea. I am also not in love with the idea of convincing myself that frank wont be able to hold an Engineering job out of Longview or Shreveport, thus convincing myself that he should pass on this AWESOME opportunity.

Both Longview and Shreveport (as of right now) have several Engineering positions available according to several folks Frank has spoken to. Could Frank hold one once he is done training? There is no way for us to know. He could hold one for a week or two and then someone with more Seniority than him could swoop in and bump him out of it! -shaking my head!-

My head is about to explode. He has to make a decision in the next 3 days as to whether or not he is going to bid and possibly snag this opportunity. It's a lot to figure out.


The question is, do we risk it? I am leaning toward "GO BIG OR GO HOME!"

1 comment:

  1. You know, as much as decisions suck, sometimes all you can do is hold your breath and jump.