Thirteen years ago, Charline Center realized she was stuck in a dead-end secretarial job that was never going to bring in the money she needed to support her young family. When the opportunity arose, she decided to join Omnitrans as a coach operator. It felt like a perfect fit.
“I like what I do, and I’m mechanically inclined,” said Charline. “When I was younger I always wanted to drive something big and had even thought about being a truck driver for a while. I’ve also done a lot of customer service work, so I’m comfortable dealing with the public. It’s interesting now having been here so long because I can see the changes that have taken place in passenger’s lives. The kids that used to ride are all grown up now and are going to college or having children of their own.”
Four years ago, Christina was inspired to follow in her mother’s footsteps when Charline brought home an application and encouraged her to apply. She went in for the interview but unfortunately didn’t get the job. A year later, she received a call-back from the agency and this time she was accepted.
“As it turned out, the timing was perfect. I was going through some major life changes and was ready for something new,” said Christina. “My mom is my biggest supporter and she gave me a lot of advice based on her own experience. We talked about the importance of keeping a professional work attitude and holding yourself accountable for your actions. She also warned me against getting pulled into gossip or drama.”
It’s advice that Christina has taken very much to heart, and over the past three years she has received several commendations for her good work. Her goal is to one day move up into dispatch, or maybe become a supervisor.
Family means everything to both women. When she’s not working, Charline is an active board member for her 16-year-old son’s soccer team. Christina’s daughter Zoe is also a big priority. The two drivers arrange their schedules to make sure the preschooler has as much time with her mother as possible.
Working the same job has definite advantages for the two women, who frequently swap stories about their day while fixing dinner. “The rest of the family gets so jealous, saying here comes the bus talk again. It’s funny,” laughs Christina. “But we understand each other in a way no one else in the family possibly can because we work the same job. We get it.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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