Finally! I can say something! For the past several weeks, we've been on pins and needles around our house. We've never been the type to jinx something, so we've been keeping our lips sealed until the information from Justin's interviews, physical exams and physical agility tests had been processed and deemed acceptable. But now, I can finally spill the beans! Justin has a new job! AND a new ride, too :-)
As I mentioned sometime ago, my husband has always wanted to work for the railroad. A few years ago, though, he got really serious about getting on with either Union Pacific or BSNF. So, he started stalking their career websites. Every few months, he'd apply for a job, only for his application to automatically bounce back.
This Spring, he noticed an opening had come available for a train crew position about an hour south of us. He submitted his application and for the first time, he was called for an interview! This was a big deal considering every other time he had applied for a job with them, his application was always automatically denied.
He went to the interview and didn't pass the first test.
As you can imagine, he came home devastated.
After failing that early into the interview process, Justin was pretty much ready to wave the white flag. But after the disappointment wore off, he was back to stalking the Union Pacific Career site. And good thing he did, because a few weeks later, another position was open. This time it was for a track laborer about an hour northeast of here.
Fortunately, he was called for another interview so he headed up to Marysville for the day. He made it through the test and it was eventually time for his face-to-face interview. And he came home elated! The interview committee and HR rep LOVED him...but now he'd just have to wait another week or so until they announced the candidates to fill their 3 open positions.
The phone call came in and much to Justin's surprise, he wasn't selected for the job. They told him he was #4 on the list and if anything ever came up, they'd keep him in mind.
After having his applications denied numerous times, just to finally get an interview (or two) AND get turned down (twice), Justin finally accepted that the railroad was not for him. He loved his job at Asplundh but he had been promoted as far as possible--and he had maxed out on pay. The next best thing was to stay with his company, but he would just really focus on growing his side business so he could help support us as I got started in my new career.
We spent June and July looking for a different work truck. His Chevy got the small jobs done, but the size of trees were steadily increasing and he needed something with more power so he could take on the bigger jobs (and bring home bigger money!). I just wanted a nice truck that worse case scenario, I could haul clients in--but it would need a big enough engine to satisfy Justin's hauling needs. And much to our surprise, we saw the perfect truck in Dallas while we were down there for the 4th of July. We took it for a test drive and LOVED it! The only problem? We hadn't sold the Chevy so the truck wasn't coming home with us.
|2004 Dodge 2500--isn't she perrrrrty?!|
As July progressed, Justin continued looking for trucks closer to home. Nothing satisfied all our needs--or price range. But we had already placed his Chevy in Wheels-4-You and sure enough, it sold the very day the magazine was published! That said, he still had to have a truck to do his tree work. The next morning, Justin called the dealership and told them he was making arrangements to purchase the truck we saw almost a month ago. And he had it all figured out--his buddy would take the truck to a mechanic for an inspection and then he'd fly down to Dallas to grab the truck. And we'd finally be able to expand his tree business!
|Justin's 2001 Chevy Silverado. While it had been good to us, it just wasn't getting the big jobs done!|
The "big" day was finally here. Justin's friend, Isaac, picked up the truck and took it in to be looked at. A short while later, the mechanic called and said the truck was in need of about $1500 worth of work. "The pants in the relationship" told Justin that the price would have to be renegotiated if they expected him to buy that truck...we weren't about to dump money into a vehicle we just purchased! If they chose not to renegotiate (which we fully anticipated), the truck would just stay on the lot.
Before Justin could call the dealership back and start the negotiations, his phone rang and it was Union Pacific. Remember how they had said they would call him if they had a spot come open? Well, sure enough, they weren't kidding! They were offering him the track laborer position--but in a different yard than he had originally interviewed for. Being this one was still about one-hour away, he had talked himself out of commuting two hours a day with gas at $4 a gallon. Plus, he had already started working on growing his tree business (hehehe, no pun intended!). And NOW they're calling him to work?!
Here we sat. Justin no longer had his truck because in just 2 days, he was flying down to Dallas to pick up his "new" ride. The Caddy was still in the garage, but there was no way he was driving that thing 100-miles every day. Much to my surprise, he told the railroad people he wasn't interested, but he was appreciative of the offer and would apply for future jobs when the timing was better.
|The 1980 Caddy! It's a fun car, but nothing you'd want to commute in every day!|
Three hours later and it was time for the guys to wrap up work. Justin and the crews reported back to the yard, only to find out 50% of our electric utility's tree crews were getting laid off. And it was possible that even more people would get cut in the coming weeks. This time, it wasn't the "typical" lay-off of one or two weeks that we had come to know. Instead, it was for 3 months. And you were getting shipped out to Connecticut to work for their utility company.
As you can imagine, Justin picked up the phone and immediately called HR back. Much to his surprise, they had already entered his name in the computer as accepting the position! If that isn't divine intervention, then I don't know what is! All within three hours' time, Justin realized he probably wasn't getting a new work truck after all, his company was getting hit with significant lay-offs AND he receives a job offer from one of the best employers in the country! All I could think was, "Is God watching out for us or WHAT?!"
Justin went ahead and formally accepted the job offer with Union Pacific--but we still had to figure out a vehicle for him to drive! We had looked at cars one Sunday afternoon after his first interview, but it was hard telling which cars would actually fit him when they're all locked! The whole idea of finding a fuel-efficient car to accomodate a 6'10" man seemed daunting, but it had to be done.
We looked at a Prius. He didn't even begin to fit.
We looked at a Civic. He wasn't about to fit in that thing, either.
We have an Altima that Justin fits in really well and we seriously considered getting another one. However, the Altima's gas mileage wasn't quite as competitive as other cars on the market and we wanted to explore all the options. Soooooooooooooo...
We checked out the Ford Focus, but again, he wasn't going to fit.
We went to look at the Hyundai Elantras and discovered they get 40+ mpg. And he *comfortably* fit in the car!!!
|Will he fit?!|
|It's hard to believe, but he DOES!|
So, the big question--what EXACTLY will Justin be doing for Union Pacific???
Like I would know! And I'm not sure if he even knows what his job will entail!
He will be starting as a Track Laborer...when I think of people working on the actual rail roads, this is what I think of:
And of course, you have to have the cowboy music playing in the background--such as this tune ;-)
In all reality, new age laborers look a bit like this:
But with less standing around, I'm sure :-)
To be frankly honest, neither one of us care what his exact job responsibilities will be. But what we do care is that he got his foot in Union Pacific's door and with having a college degree, he should be able to rise through the company!
It's just crazy to think that in the matter of two months, the two of us have started new jobs. And not just jobs--but careers! Things are going very well with real estate--I've gotten 4 houses in escrow (ie "under contract") and I'm working with additional buyers. Justin's dream of getting on with the railroad is coming true and his degree will provide for upward mobility. Another great perk of his new career--when he eventually retires from Union Pacific, I'll automatically receive a retirement check worth half of what his monthly check will be! That's right--I don't have to do anything but put up with his crazy schedule and they pay ME a retirement check :-) All smugness aside, the retirement benefit is HUGE for us. As a Realtor, there is no retirement--unless I set up my own fund and if anyone reading this pays attention to current rates, you know a 401K is a worthless investment right now.
But on a sappy note--I feel like we've already made a huge investment and it's starting to pay off. Once we decided to journey down the road of Holy Matrimony, we prayed to God every single night that he would lead us down a path that would provide for us in our old age together. Making a leap into real estate during a down market is crazy. Leaving a job with great pay, plenty of overtime and setting aside your small business to commute 2-hours a day for a new company is risky. Craziness aside, we put our faith in God's hands and told him we would follow his lead...and so far, it looks like He's taking us down a great path!