I am 30, single with no kids and a Bachelors Degree. I was never able to land a job in my field of study and always was stuck with retail management jobs that I hated. I recently lucked out and landed a job with a major class 1 railroad here in my hometown. I don't work on the trains or have a trade. I was hired on to drive a forklift in the shops. It's pretty much the lowest paid and bottom of the barrel job for the railroad, next to a janitor. But even so, I still make slightly more than any other job I ever had. Also, in my small town, everyone and their brother tries desperately to get in because a "railroad job" is supposed to have great pay/benefits. So for that, I do feel blessed and thankful. Now I have been on the job for almost a month now and got placed on 2nd shift with odd rest days - Wed + Thur. I don't really like the hours especially on the weekends since it cuts into your life pretty hard - no social life or family events. Also I am not crazy about the job either. Driving a forklift in a noisy crowded, dirty environment really isn't my thing. Now I do like the fact that it is 8 hours and you're done, and 2nd shift is less busy than first. The retirement is excellent and I could retire at 60 after 30 years of service. I also recently interviewed for another job in my field of study and I feel I have a good shot at getting an offer. It's M-F 8-5 and $15k more than my current job on the RR. But at the same time, I would hate to give up a highly desirable railroad job with the excellent retirement. I know eventually with time, I can bid up into a better job with better hours as more people retire. Not sure if I should tough it out and stick with the RR or go for this other job. This is a very tough decision to make. Any of you guys have any input? Thanks!
What other people think about working for the railroad is irrelevant. If you don't like the job I don't see you being happy or sticking with it for 30 years. Are there advancement opportunities with the railroad into a position you would like?
Does the other job in your field have good benefits? If so it really seems like a no brainier to me.
Sometimes you just have to take a gamble, I left a decent paying job to take a lower paying job with great retirement and crappy hours, after 5 years on 3rd working weekends I landed a job in another department making more than the decent paying job I left and work 1st with no weekends.
Biggest question is are you skilled in any way to make an upward move at the RR and if not is there any job there you'd like to have at the RR that you're willing to get training for.
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Don't ever count on a retirement plan that's "promised" to you today to actually still be there in 30 years! Go with the job in your field of study. There will be opportunity for advancement and you'll be gaining experience so you can eventually apply for bigger better jobs elsewhere.
As an added thought... if you take that 15K per year more the new job pays and invest it yearly into a 401K type plan, you will be waaay farther ahead in 30 years than had you stayed with the railroad and gambled on them honoring their retirement promises... especially with the possibilities of advancement and the potential of earning even more income as your career progresses. 30 years is a darn long time when it comes to the economy... companies go bankrupt and disappear.. they get bought and sold... they merge and always revise their benefit packages... the employees almost always lose benefits with every change.
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An interesting statistic would be the percentage of people who actually received the full retirement payout they were promised at the start of their career. How many people received their pensions? How many social security? How many didn't have their 401K collapse within their career?
I know I don't count on my employer for retirement. 30 years yields many changes as far as I can tell.
My FIL's brother was going to retire I think 2 years ago on his 401 backed retirement. His 401 tanked and he's working till he dies now. My brother was a RR for a while, lots of layoffs and unless you're on the plan from the 80's it was mediocre pay. The only good thing was as long as no one died being 'fired' lasted a week and you made more money when you were fired than when you were working. The common thing was to screw up badly right before a planned vacation, spend a month "fired" on a beach making 3x your usual pay.
Now I have been on the job for almost a month now and got placed on 2nd shift with odd rest days - Wed + Thur. I don't really like the hours especially on the weekends since it cuts into your life pretty hard - no social life or family events.
Those are some pretty suck hours. I worked that exact schedule for the first police department I ever worked for. I wouldn't do it again. Now, I'm doing the same job, but I'm on my four day weekend. Don't take something you aren't happy with.
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