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Old 09-08-2005, 07:01 PM   #13
jmp883
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern NJ
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busyEMT,

Train dispatching was far more stressful, but not due to the duties of the job. The stress that was there came from NJT management. The year I spent with New Jersey Transit was probably the worst year of my life. Ironic since I considered train dispatching my dream job.

Here's just one example of many I could give you during my year with NJT:

All the dispatchers I met in the NJT office were great, save for one. They were very helpful and went out of their way to show the new guy the ropes. The trouble in paradise was with management. Except for 2 managers, all of them treated myself, and the two others I hired out with, crudely. Now I understand that this is the real world and I don't need to have my hand held or to be treated like a baby. If I was thin-skinned I never would have been able to go 11 years as an emergency services dispatcher before I hired out on the railroad. But by the same token I shouldn't have to be treated like I was a pain in the ass....which was the attitude that most of management had towards us. As an example...I was on the job only a short while when a storm knocked out the signal system on the Southern Tier line, a 60 mile line between Suffern, NY and Port Jervis, NY. One of the bosses comes out and wants to know why no signals are pulled up on the Tier. We tell him why, he tells us to pull the signals and when we tell him we can't because the storm knocked them out he calls me 'f*cking useless'. That was his name for me the rest of the time I was with the railroad. Nothing like being called that in front of everyone else in the office, every time, all the time! Let me tell ya, he's a great morale builder! And that is only one of many stories I can relate to you. The sad thing was that there was no one for us trainees to turn to in those cases. We weren't in the union yet so we couldn't file a grievance, our only course of action was to go to management. Well after that story I just related, would you want to go to management?? I hired on with 2 others, both with prior transit experience. They both quit within 6 months, citing management as their main reason for leaving, lack of training was the 2nd reason. I made it through most of 2002, but come mid-December of that year I came as close to a nervous breakdown as I ever want to get. I quit for the same 2 reasons the other two did. A good friend of mine who still works in the dispatch office tells me that things really haven't changed all that much. They've hired a number of new dispatchers and lost several of them for the exact same reasons I left.

It's obvious that NJT is very over-managed in the dispatch office. When there is a problem on any desk, all the managers come out to the desk involved to find out what the problem is. Then there is discusssion on how to best solve the problem. There were times that the discussion got heated because the bosses couldn't agree among themselves on a solution and they usually wouldn't listen to the dispatcher's idea. That always struck me as ironic....you had to be a train dispatcher in order to get promoted to a train dispatcher supervisor position. You'd think that since they used to sit at a dispatch desk themselves that they'd listen to the dispatcher for a possible solution to the problem. No such luck.

Anyway, I quit the job, took a $20,000 pay cut (that's right-$20,000) and was fortunate to get hired back by the police department I had dispatched with for years. Been back going on 4 years now and it still hasn't become a job. It's never the same shift twice in a row when you dispatch PD/FD/EMS for a 30-square mile township....I guess that's why it still hasn't become a job yet, even after 15 years!

Forgive me for rambling......

Joe P
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