After years of being stuck inside for work, Christchurch man Rory Kennett wanted “a real outdoor job”.

“I also wanted to get out of my comfort zone to see if I could do something on this level,” he says.

Rory decided to chuck in his job as a printer technician/manager at a firm selling office supplies and went on the hunt for a job with a great income that offered full training. He searched and found three jobs that ticked these boxes, applied and got all three. One of these was the job at Kiwirail. Rory had heard it rumoured that the rail industry was a great one to get into with good income and perks.

“I then rolled the dice to decide. And hey, I get to play with trains,” he says.

It turned out to be a lucky dice roll; Rory has certainly found what he was looking for at Kiwirail. The 42-year-old has worked for the past four years as a rail operator, which involves making up and breaking up trains using a shunt locomotive and organising what wagons go to what customers. He also acts as a guide for the remote control operator.

The outdoor nature of his job hasn’t disappointed, and Rory relishes the opportunity to push himself physically, working in all weather conditions.

“You get satisfaction out of working with multi-million-dollar equipment on a daily basis and the huge responsibility that goes with it,” he says.

Rory’s approach to work comes partly from how he has coped with some hurdles he has had to confront. He recalls a long recovery time following a bad skiing accident in his twenties.

“When I was lying there I decided that I wasn’t going to hold back in life and put things off. So now I do stuff when I want, within reason. Working outdoors was always appealing, so when the opportunity came along, I took it.”

Rory says he lacked confidence in his younger years, but his late wife Richelle taught him to believe in himself. He also credits a couple of “tough bosses” earlier in his career with teaching him patience for others.

He is focusing on heading into managerial roles in the future.

“I would like to go all the way to the top. Luckily I work for a company that I can move quite far up the chain. There are opportunities available from time to time and I will move up when I get the chance.

“Everybody needs to have a good work to life balance though, so the push up the chain would have to blend in well with my lifestyle. After all, you only get one chance at this life.”

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