Stress & Pressure

It has been a very long and sometime challenging 2007. At the end of 2006, I began training for my new job. As of yesterday, the final day in 2007 I am done training. The manager who has been with me every step of the way wrote my letter of recommendation for certification.

It definitely has not been the easiest time, I really cannot compare the stress and pressure I have been under for the last year, trying so hard at time to do everything correct and not make a mistake, that I found myself making stupid, little mistakes. It got to the point where I was extended in my training for 3 weeks. At the end of the third week I was given one more “final” week in which to prove I belonged.

Thankfully that was one of the best weeks I had during training. I was able to demonstrate and overcome some deficiencies that had hampered my “development” through out training. I walked out of work on Sunday with the biggest smile on my face when I was more less congratulated on completing training. There is still some paperwork to finish up and a certification board to go in front of, but the most challenging part has been successfully accomplished.

Things won’t get any easier after certification, but that stress and pressure I felt was suddenly lifted on Sunday afternoon when I strolled out of work as if I were walking on cloud nine. I look forward to the next stages of development as I learn more on the job and grow into my new position. The year has started of on the right foot.

Rigors of Training

If training was simple with excellent pay and benefits, anyone would be a candidate for a Train Controller at BART. Little did I know…actually I did know a little something coming into the job, prior to starting the resume process. But we are just about 10 days into our 25 weeks of OJT. Let me tell you, college was tough. Training to be a Train Controller is much more time consuming and difficult, especially coming being an outside candidate coming into a new company. Not only did I (and one other guy) have to learn the company, but we must also learn the necessary material in order to possibly be certified.

The training is rigorous, intense and very demanding. Okay, so it’s not rocket science and this is not NASA, although it looks similar. Moving trains is not like moving planes, nor was my job at the airlines anything like the job I have now at BART. Sure, it is a control center and I help oversee and run day to day operations, but damn! I am mentally beat every night I come home and usually disgusted with myself due to my performance.

Each week we are evaluated by our OJI and then 3 managers, the OJI and myself must sign off on the evaluation. Last week’s evaluation was positive. I was making progress every day and the only deficiency was that of not knowing a few commands, which I studied over the weekend.

Tuesday came this week and you would think I forgot everything I did last week. Wednesday was especially ugly as I started to fall behind and had to be relieved by my OJI who handled much of the traffic the last 30 minutes of the shift. Maybe I was burnt out from trying to remember everything and make sure I did it all correct.

I was talked to by my friend who reassured me I was progressing “above the curve” and during this portion of the training you were not supposed to know everything. So the bottom line was don’t be so hard on yourself. I loved the words of encouragement, which I think I need and I know she saw I needed them because of how hard I was taking what I could not do, but I was holding it in and not letting my fellow peers see it. But I am sure the OJI knew, as did my friend. I also got a second vote of confidence as to sounding good on the radio from another controller.

All in all, it has been challenging up to the start of OJT, but this is when the real training really begins. This is where you learn to be a controller, yet it will be another 2 years before you are comfortable in the seat controlling trains in the system.

More on the Cougar, HOA, Urban Radio and landscaping tomorrow. For now, it is back to work…