Many people who work at Metro Transit take on new responsibilities and roles throughout their careers. Career Tracks highlights the paths employees have taken to their latest assignment and where they see themselves going next. To learn more about career opportunities at Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council, visit metrocouncil.org/employment.
How did you begin your career with Metro Transit?
I started my career at Metro Transit as a part time operator for weekends and holidays while pursuing an Anthropology degree full time at the University of Minnesota. Instead of partying with college kids, I transported them as the “Queen of the route sixteen.” Upon graduating, I went full time as a METRO Green Line light rail operator. After mastering light rail operations, where one of my accomplishments included no red signal overruns, I was promoted to Street Operations as a Manager – Street Operations where I served for five years. Today, I’ve stepped into a new role as an Assistant Transportation Manager at Nicollet Garage.
What were your career goals and what steps did you take to achieve them?
Primarily, I wanted to find a job that I was good at and that I loved to do. I believed this love would be reflected in the quality of my work, which in turn, I’d be rewarded for. That career goal has remained the same, with the addition of being a lifelong learner. And, to achieve my career goals, I took three steps:
One: knowing what I wanted. Half the battle is knowing what you want to do and how you want to contribute. For example, I knew I wanted to operate light rail and I knew I wanted to do it safely.
Two: continuously challenging myself to learn new things and to apply them in my current position. For instance, I completed the Metropolitan Council’s Project Management Development Program to learn how to manage large scale projects. I also completed the Mentoring Works program to learn more about the different branches of the Council, which partnered me with a mentor from Environmental Services.
Three and the most integral: breaking down my goals into small, actionable tasks. For example, checking internal postings for professional development opportunities, or for courses that piqued my interest.
What advice do you have for others who want to take on more or different responsibilities?
First and foremost; keep an open mind and remain curious about different position, roles, and duties. If you have an interest in a job, let that interest be known. Inform your manager, or possibly find a mentor or even someone currently in that position. Ask if they’d be willing to answer some questions about the position, to further gauge if you’d really be interested in taking on those responsibilities. If someone is interested in being a Street Supervisor, we do ride-alongs, where you can shadow us as we do our job. Metro Transit is one of the unique companies where you can try out a position, but if it isn’t the best fit, you can return to your original position. A lot goes into hiring and training for new positions, so of course they want people to be sure about taking on new duties. Which is why it’s great to have mentors and create rapport with people in different positions.