In this article we will talk about workload of IES officers in Indian Railways and responsibilities on their shoulders. I am quite young to this organization but still I will try my best to project an honest picture of inside working.
Govt jobs in India are one of most secure jobs in the world. This makes it a scarce resource here, especially for middle class of this country. There are all sorts of government jobs from group D to group A, from psu to state govt. to central govt. Getting Group A job in central government is the dream of youth of this country. Moreover, after seventh pay commission, the scramble for central government jobs will reach its peak. Today, engineers are ever more in numbers which is actually good for this country, if they really are engineers. But the tragedy is very few of us get become engineers in real life. Have you seen ‘Prison Break’, he is the real engineer, we are just engineering graduates. A railway is the place where you get group A job as well as do some engineering.
How is the image of government jobs in our society? On one hand we want it for security and on other hand we despise it for its stagnancy. Actually, both of them are true. Nobody can remove you from service and you get promotion automatically over the time. This brings in a lot of complacency in government workers including some officers. It is said that government job is not a place for research and innovation but I beg to differ, you can say that there is no incentive but there are lot of opportunities. Government may not give you anything special for doing things brilliantly but you will enjoy just for the sheer pleasure of doing it. In government service, everyone is looking for his entitlements by the virtue of post he holds. If you want to learn in Railways, be ready to visit difficult places, be ready to stay awake at night, be ready to accept rebuke of seniors. You have to be ready to face chaos and dirt of platforms and stations. You will have to deal with corrupt and lazy staff. In fact, Infrastructure at Jamalpur is still the same built by British. You will find yourself in the midst of people learning modern technology in a heritage infrastructure. Being an engineer in Railways is not the bed of roses, it is like a crown of thrones.
As I have said in my previous articles that Railways will provide you diversity of work which no other job India will offer but workload is equally high. In state govt department people procrastinate their work endlessly but in railways you can’t do so beyond a certain point. Off all govt engineering jobs, work culture in railways is relatively better. Again it doesn’t mean that there is no politics, or corruption or leg-pulling, but in lesser proportions. Moreover if you get good zone, then these problems will even be lessened. Part of the problem is that govt servants work under negative perception in the eyes of public, of being corrupt and inefficient. It is not easy to totally change this image but the initiative will have to be taken form top.
For officers, work- hours have not been defined in IR. It means that you are on duty 24*7, being on duty doesn’t mean always doing work, it means being responsible all the time. If anything happens, DRM directly scolds junior scale officers which you will be after joining. Hence all the facilities, all the staff and all the resources are to be used for execution of you duty. Apart from train running, you will be establishment head of your office which means you will be managing their leaves, passes, transfers, etc. Workload is greater when there is some derailment or accident. You will be present at site without food or water for hours. I don’t want scare you but upshot of all this is that workload is directly proportional to responsibility and in IR you will have lot of responsibility. As a junior and senior scale officers , your working will be more engineering oriented which will include lot of inspections but as you move up the ladder you will be doing less and less inspection and more management work. At the level of DRM and GM , you can’t even imagine their diversity and nature of work. Work load is greater in open line organization; in research, deputation and construction organization work load is cyclic and variable. Research wing of IR is RDSO; it also provides standardization and specification for IR. If you are research oriented then you will be able to contribute maximum here.
As an officer you can learn lot and create some new assets for IR but nobody will ask you to do so. You will have to take your own initiative, but first there is lot to learn before you can actually do something different. As I said there will no incentive for you to work harder, but your own engineering instinct will propel you, if it is there. There are only few who retain their shine even in government jobs, it is because they don’t expect much and work for their own satisfaction.
All those aspirants who want to join IR, you should, but don’t try to be sophisticated. Learn to be a leader. It is really important at your level. You will be head of lot of staff whose experience might be greater that your age. They have seen the railways more than you may have seen the world. So how will you deal with them? Showing arrogance is not the way, being too polite is also not recommended. Ability to handle people will take to far , just knowing technical stuff is not enough. Infact , your communication skills will be tested when you join Railways and travel without ticket, and TTE gives you seat as well as respect.
Till then ,Goodbye.