UP Career Corner

Five Military Lessons That Apply to a Career at Union Pacific

Posted June 21, 2016 12:00 PM CDT

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U.S. Navy Reservist Baltazar Perez works as a mechanical service operator at Union Pacific, shown here at the Santa Teresa Intermodal Facility in New Mexico.

Ask any veteran, and they’ll tell you one of their greatest challenges in transitioning to a civilian career is translating and applying their military skills to a civilian job since military jargon is so different than civilian language.

The military’s values go hand-in-hand with Union Pacific’s values, both dedicated to safety and performance. Union Pacific has even been designated as one of the military’s Most Valuable Employers by CivilianJobs.com for the second consecutive year.

Here are five lessons from the military that directly apply to a career at Union Pacific:

1. Adopt a safety mindset.  Safety is the number one priority at Union Pacific and in the military. When operations are run safely, performance surges, too.

2. Train and perform all tasks to standard.  Training to high standard and performing tasks to standard is the foundation of operational safety in the military and at Union Pacific.  Shortcuts and non-standard work does not help efficiency and performance if safety procedures are compromised.

3. Lead by example.  Both individual workers and leaders must constantly set the tone and lead by example that simultaneously reinforces both safety and performance.  Setting the example is the best action that leaders and individuals can take to reinforce and adopt a safety mind set in all actions, both in the military and at Union Pacific.

4. Have the moral courage to Stop The Line.  Stopping the Line, or speaking up when you know something isn’t right, is one of the greatest acts of moral courage. It’s the backbone of Union Pacific’s safety mission – and also a military trait. If you have the courage to stop the line and fix safety issues immediately, then you have the courage to improve performance and safety for fellow employees, customers, and communities.

5. Always be ready to learn.  Constant learning and improvement is a hallmark of military training that reinforces ongoing safety improvements and performance improvements. It’s an important aspect at Union Pacific, as well, as the business constantly evolves.

Interested in a career with Union Pacific, and need help translating your military skills? Use the Military Skills Translator, and then search current openings at https://up.jobs.

This article was written by Union Pacific's Chad Storlie, senior director of Customer Solutions. Storlie served in the United States Army for more than 20 years as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Infantry and Special Forces (Green Beret). He served in Iraq, Korea, Bosnia, Germany and throughout the United States.