Wayside wrote:Nice welcome for a new member.
I don't know if its such a "bad" welcome. We're just tellin' it like it IS. Take it for what it is! The railroad has an environment and a culture all its own. And with that culture comes a deeply-rooted military tradition that started at the end of the Civil War. This was also rooted in the "class" system where one's ability was not necessarily based on one's actual aptitude, but the "class" you came from. Military officers were considered to be "gentlemen" with high levels of strategic, tactical and organizational training. The regular folks--farmers, laborers, journeymen- were inferior and as such, the management styles were geared toward a highly paternalistic method of management. Lower "classes" of people with no "gentlemenly" qualities were regarded as children who, in turn, could not be trusted with much responsibility. THEY
has to be treated as recalcitrant children that were expected to do the wrong things. They had to be punished and such punishments had to be harsh. Employees were/are treated badly with stern scoldings, even shouting, threatening, and time out of service was/is a common method. Unfortunately, it was, and still is often, considered that such punishments are automatically corrective as well as punitive. Particularly with people with high IQ's (which many managements still believe), this achieves exactly the opposite result and is actually counterproductive.
Railroads are steeped in tradition and slow to change. A few companies are slowly are finding that out! They are adapting to a different type of employee. This has been brought on by education, a changing, shrinking world, and people having access to much more information than they had 'way back when. Gone are the barefoot farm boys who came off the farm with a 6th grade education, replaced by line employees who themselves *may* have a college education. Many are already tradesmen with previous skills. People are not as likely to stand glumly while some booming Trainmaster screams in their faces. He might just get the living **** knocked out of 'im.
There used to be a Gang supervisor we used to call "Screamin' Gene". 'Bout as hateful a man as one could find. He LOOKED for reasons to yell at people. And he was TAUGHT that way by Southern RR people at what was known as "The Forest"--a supervisor training school and company retreat that only bossmen and their families could attend. The railroad WANTED their supervisors to holler at people, to always find the least thing with which to take one out of service. Others were simply stern, but would write you up,or give you 10 days "on the ground" if you looked at 'em funny! Now, I'm not making this up! It is NOT fiction! I LIVED it!
OTH, there WERE some good people. "Boogety" Davis (had a habit of saying on the radio, "Let's Boogety" when he got a green board as a line conductor". The railroad would call you to protect assignments you had NEVER cubbed. And if you messed up, they'd take you out of service for making a mistake.
I got called on the Crew Book one night--never been trained on it. Didn't even have a Trainman's seniority roster to tell who to call for service. IF it hadn't been for Trainmaster Davis, who knew the crew book by heart, I'd STILL be out of service!
I understand that ancient culture STILL drives the railroads with a few exceptions. Its NOT what you imagine, Mr. Wayside. Your "supervisorial" (f there's such a word) will be severely tested in the railroad environment for it is like no other. For me, well......................I made it thru and don't have to worry about it anymore. Trainmaster screams at me now, I would just tell 'im to go do anatomically impossible things to himself. IF you get my drift!