Chris Muir's Day By Day

Friday, May 10, 2013

Where a Vet Can Get a Job

Workin' On the Railroad.

OMAHA, Neb. — Mark Major once led a team of soldiers in combat in Iraq. Now he leads a team of railroad employees. The difference, he says, is obvious: "I'm not getting shot at anymore."

But it's the similarities between serving in the military and working for the railroad that draw Major and many other former military members to this type of work.

"For a veteran — a person who thrives off excitement, a mission and a chain of command — you tend to seek out companies like that," said Major, who has worked for Union Pacific for about two years.

As thousands of American soldiers return to the civilian workforce after service in Iraq or Afghanistan, many are finding jobs on the nation's rail lines. More than 25 percent of all U.S. railroad workers have served in the military.

Veterans have a long history of railroad work. Civil War veterans, for example, helped complete the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. But railroad opportunities are especially welcome now because the unemployment rate for recent veterans remains higher than for the rest of the nation.

Major helps manage intermodal freight trains for the railroad in Oakland, Calif. He sought out a railroad job when he was getting ready to leave the military because of the challenges and independence it offered and because he had known other soldiers who went to work for a railroad and liked it.

"I'm infantry," Major said. "The 40-hour workweek, sitting in a cubicle doesn't really appeal."


Please tell me that Major made it to O-4. The possibility of having a real Major Major in the US Army is just too delicious to overlook.

4 comments:

Old NFO said...

One hopes he did, that would be funny... I did know a Sgt. Major in the Marines back in the day! He caught hell on a regular basis, especially when he made Gunny!

DontWantTo said...

Sixties soul singer Major Lance ("The Monkey Time") said he was a corporal in the army but got away with all sorts of things because of his first name.

DontWantTo said...

Sixties soul singer Major Lance ("The Monkey Time") said he was a corporal in the army but got away with all sorts of things because of his first name.

Robert said...

When I was in the U.S. Navy, I met Bosun's Mate First Class Ulysses S. Navey. His brother was in the Army...