Good Evening. This is my first post and I believe I am in the correct forum. I believe I have a unique situation and would like real world advice from others who have gone through this in the real world. First about myself. I am 26 years old, married with our first on the way. I have recently completed an Active Duty US Army obligation of 4 years, and am now a member of the Army National Guard. I have a college degree coupled with real world military leadership which required me to think, be responsible, and make decisions for the lives of my men in both garrison and combat situations. I have recently completed the conductor trainee(primary recall) hiring process (interviews, physicals, etc) and been offered employment for the said position. Most of the head hunters Ive spoken to agree that BNSF is a great opportunity that I would be foolish to pass up. I have been digging through both forums and web search engines for real life explanations, descriptions, and stories of this position. While certainly insightful, I have pointed questions I cannot find the answers to. I would be more than humbled to receive the advice and mentorship of others who may have completed this process. Firstly, the job offering is 14 hours from my current residence. To attend this training would require me to obviously relocate to the hosting city. While this in itself isn't overly taxing, I am faced with the distinct possibility of my National Guard Unit being 'volunteered' for a deployment to Afghanistan. As with all things military it isnt set in stone. However, if the more than likely becomes a reality I will be mobilized and on a plane to the middle east once again before my training would complete. My concern then becomes the issue of spending several thousand dollars to relocate for a training in which i will become terminated shortly after starting due to my National Guard unit being sent overseas. As BNSF is a military friendly organization, does anyone have any insight into what my best course of action would be? Would I be able to restart training after deployment or I would I be terminated immediately with no chance of rehire? If the termination is likely, would you recommend declining the employment in the first place in order to save the several thousand dollars it would take to move to the terminal? Secondly, most of the information I have gleaned regarding the job description vaguely outlines something akin to 'long hours, no set schedule, bad weather, bad for marriage'. While this is great, I haven't been able to get a good picture of what a typical work week would look like. The Army could be described with the following statement as well, but I was able to find a sense of normalcy (while home in the US at least) with my schedule once I got the hang of it. Is this similar to the conductor job? Pointedly how often are you gone from home in a week? What kind of hours would you put in? Third, I have recently come across this blog posting and I ask for an honest assement from you all that actually have gone through the hiring process and on to careers with BNSF. rochelletrainpark, so you want to work for the railroad blog jan2008 While I am not nearly as pessimistic, I did note a few similarities at my own interview. While I didnt get a 'scare speech', is there an accuracy to the mentioned first year pay rate? Also, there were more than a few applicants who DID arrive in t shirts and jeans, with obscure haircuts and copious amounts of facial hair whom I would not trust to carry paperclips let alone operate a multi-ton locomotive killing machine. I would hope that the BNSF hiring process weeds out this kind of applicant. However, if it doesnt, I cant see BNSF in their right mind letting any of those applicants ever THINK, ACT, or make a decision while working as a train conductor. This coupled with the 'fire safety drill' leads me to believe this is true. Does BNSF train to the lowest common denominator, and will it generally be assumed that I fall into this prior category with the inability to act and think independently? I am more than willing to do my time with the company and I am not, and have never been afraid of hard work. Ive spent more than enough time in Iraq burning waste left in latrines, filling sandbags alongside my men etc. But as a Conductor Trainee is my intelligence going to be repeatedly questioned along side the idea that I may or may not have a fully functioning brain? I have a sizable reservation about going to work every day where it is generally assumed I am a 17 year old private with no real world experiences therefore unable to balance my own checkbook. Lastly, and forgive this lengthy post, what kind opportunities are there to advance in the company if one demonstrates the necessary qualities and desire? Again, my apologies for this lengthy essay. I have no idea where else to turn to. Any replies or advice is greatly appreciated.